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CHRONOLOGY OF THE EARLY KINGS OF IBERIA 
Author(s): CYRIL TOUMANOFF 
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Source: Traditio, Vol. 25 (1969), pp. 1-33 

Published by: Fordham University 

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CHRONOLOGY OF THE EARLY KINGS OF IBERIA* 

By CYRIL TOUMANOFF 


The are several reasons why the problem of early-Georgian, and particul- 
arly early- Iberian (East Georgian), chronology has been a vexing one. In 
the first place, the early-Georgian historical works contain almost no direct 
chronological indications, i.e., dates, but rather offer quite numerous relative 
indications, i.e., synchronisms, lengths of reigns and lives, regnal years, the 
distance between events, etc. Secondly, in these historical works, hard facts 
of history often lie buried under a superimposition of myth, legend, and epos, 
or are occasionally fused with the picture of other historical facts, occurring 
at different epochs, that is projected on them. And, thirdly, the attempts 
at establishing such a chronology, which have not been wanting, have tended 
to be somewhat vitiated by misconceptions upon which they were based. 
Thus, early in this century, the imaginative attempt of S. Gorgadze * 1 was 
ruined by the fact that he preferred the evidence of the king-lists ( Royal 
List, I, II, III), which form a later addition to the seventh-century Conversion 
of Iberia , 2 to that of the more authoritative and older (eighth-century) History 
of the Kings of Iberia by Leontius of Ruisi, which contains a still older historical 
tradition . 3 Gorgadze, accordingly, tended to neglect what chronological in- 


* Iberia or K'arUli is East Georgia, the historical nucleus of the Georgian nation. Only 
after the Union of 1008 between Iberia and Abasgia or Ap e xazet e i (West Georgia, earlier 
Lazica and still earlier Colchis or, in Georgian, Egrisi) may one speak of Georgia (Sak'ar- 
Uvelo) as a political fact. 

1 S. Gorgaje, ‘Carileba Sak'arUvelos istoriidan, * V Ancienne Georgie 1 (1909), 2 (1913). 

2 See, for this monument, Toumanoff, Studies in Christian Caucasian History (Washington 
1963) 23-24, 417-428. It is cited here in ed. E. T'aqaiSvili, in Sbornik Materialov. . . Kav- 
kaza 41 (1910). 

3 Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 24-5. It is cited here in ed. S. Qauxd f i§vili, K f art e lis C'xovreba 
I (Tiflis 1955). Leontius was Bishop of Ruisi or, to give him his Georgian title, Mroveli. 
It is difficult to take seriously the objection to the above dating of Leontius — a dating 
based on internal evidence — on the mere ground that an inscription of a Bishop Leontius 
of Ruisi of 1066 has recently been discovered: thus e.g. D. M. Lang, The Georgians (New 
York /Washington 1966) 158, and in Speculum 12 (1967) 195-6. For the inscription in question 
and a reply to such an objection see M. TarchniSvili, 'La d^couverte d’une inscription g6or- 
gienne de Tan 1066,’ Bedi Karthlisa 26-27 (1957) 86-89. Actually, of course, the eleventh- 
century Bishop Leontius has long been known to us from manuscript evidence: Tarchni§- 
vili, op. cit. 87; Geschichte der kirchlichen georgischen Literatur (Studi e Testi 185; Vatican 
City 1955) 92 n. 2. It is, surely, simplistic to see anything unusual in the commonly recur- 
rent fact of the homonymy of several bishops occupying at different times the same See. 
It was, precisely, the existence of an eleventh-century Leontius of Ruisi that influenced 


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dications are found in Leontius. 4 And in our own days, another such attempt 
was made by P. Ingoroqva, 5 which cannot be described as entirely successful. 

The lack of success of this later attempt is due to three factors. First, 
the preference, as in the case of Gorgadze and others, 6 of the Royal List to 
Leontius; second, misconceptions in connection with the legendary Diarchy 
of Iberia and with the Vitaxae of Gogarene; and third, a misconception in 
connection with the origin of the Georgian Era. The last two items require 
an explanation. Both Leontius 7 and the Royal List* which in part depends 
on him, mention the existence in the Iberian Monarchy, from the mid-first 
to the mid-second century, of a diarchy of simultaneous kings ruling over 
two halves of the kingdom. At this point, the narrative of Leontius quite 
obviously deteriorates, owing probably to a different group of sources used 
by him. These sources can be discerned as (1) some history of the Diarchy 
itself; (2) an Epos of Sumbat Bivritiani, with details of the events occurring 
in the second century B.C. projected on it, 9 and the whole interpolated into 
the History of the Diarchy; and (3) a story, or at least a memory, of the en- 
mity of the first-century kings Pharasmanes I of Iberia and his brother Mithri- 
dates of Armenia projected on the diarchs of the second century. 10 Now the 
story of the Diarchy, with two lines of kings reigning, respectively, at Mts'khe- 
t'a 11 and north of the Gyrus, and at neighbouring Armazi 12 and south of that 


the old view that the historian Leontius belonged to that century, a view which I myself at 
first shared: cf. ‘Medieval Georgian Historical Literature (vnth-xvth Centuries), * Traditio 1 
(1943) 166. Thus, the discovery of the inscription of 1066 can add nothing new in support 
of this old view. 

4 Thus, e.g., Leontius’ express statement that King Aderk reigned for 57 years — and 
this is one of the few such statements in his work — is neglected by Gorgaje, who gives 
his regnal years as A.D. 1-30: cf. A. Gugushvili, ‘The Chronological-Genealogical Table 
of the Kings of Georgia,’ Georgica 1.2-3 (1936) 112. For Pharamasnes I/Aderk, see infra 
No. 10. 

5 P. Ingoroqva, ‘ Jvel-k f art f uli matiane “MokVeva K f artTisa” da antikuri xanis Iberiis 
mep f et f a sia, ’ Bulletin du Musee de Giorgie 11 B (1941) 259-320. 

6 Such as the late Professor I. JavaxiSvili, see Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 418 and n. 4. 

7 Leontius (hereinafter L) 43-54. 

8 Roy. List (hereinafter RL) I 49-50. 

9 L 45-49. Sumbat Bivritiani of the Iberian tradition is the Bagratid Smbat son of Biwrat, 
of the Armenian (Ps. Moses of Chorene 2.37-53). See, for him and the above-mentioned 
projection of older facts, Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 316. 

10 L 50-54. For the projection see infra No. 11. 

n Though a populous settlement already at the end of the third millennium B.C., Mc e xet e a 
was the younger capital of Iberia, a sucessor of Armazi: cf. Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 89 n. 121. 

12 Armazi or K'artTi-Armazi was the original capital of Iberia and remained, after the 
rise of Mc'xeTa, the holy city of Iberian paganism and one of the defences of Mec f xet f a: 
ibid. 88 n. 120, 89 n. 121. 


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CHRONOLOGY OF THE KINGS OF IBERIA 


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river, is a livresque deformation of history. 13 And it is patently artificial. 
No contemporary foreign sources know of it, all concurring, on the contrary, 
in revealing the existence of sole rulers in Iberia. The succession to the two 
parallel thrones is contrived and naive, with the diarchs ascending and dying 
apparently simultaneously. Finally, the clue to the story can be found in 
the name given to one of the diarchs. It is Armazel, as borne by the Mts r khet p a 
counterpart of King Azork of Armazi. 14 In reality, it is not at all a praenomen , 
but a territorial epithet, which ought to be applied to Azork, for it is the 
Georgian for ‘ of Armazi. ’ It is difficult to doubt that Azork was so nicknamed 
because of his choice of the older capital for his residence. Precisely so, at 
a later date, King DaclTi of Iberia (522-534) was known as Ujarmeli, because 
the city of Ujarma, and not Mts c khet f a, appears to have been his residence. 15 
This polyonymy must have caused the source of Leontius to split one king 
into two, one indeed at Armazi and the other at the newer, and usual, capital 
of Iberia, Mts f khet f a. A vague memory of some historical realities must 
have also contributed to the rise of this story and have endowed it with plau- 
sibility and with the extension over several reigns. These historical realities 
appear to have been, first, the actual but briefer division of Iberia between 
two kings, one Roman and one Iranian vassal, with the Gyrus as boundary, 
in the years 370-378, 16 and secondly, the presence in the Iberian Monarchy, 
precisely from the mid-first to the mid-second century, of the powerful Vita- 
xae of Gogarene. 

Having elsewhere treated in some detail of the Armeno-Iberian margraves, 
bearing the title of Vitaxae of Gogarene, 17 I will confine myself here to 
saying that these great dynasts, zig-zagging between the two neighbouring 
monarchies, found themselves in the Iberian sphere in the first and second 
centuries and again after 363/387, having, at other times, been in the sphere 
of Armenia. Since the Yitaxate included, at different epochs, in addition 
to its Armenian lands, also the Georgian territories of East Javakhet c i, T f ria- 
letT, Gardabani, and GachTani, its rulers extended their sway practically to 
the gates of the Iberian capital of Mts r khet f a and of the Iberian holy city 
of Armazi, near which in the first and second centuries they had their sump- 


13 I. JavaxiSvili, Kart'veli eris istoria I (3rd ed. Tiflis) 216; but not in 4th ed. (Tiflis 1951) 
235-6; L. Melikset-Bekov, ‘Armazni: Istoriko-arxeologiceskij ocerk, ’ Masalebi Sak'art'velos 
da Kavkasiis istoriidan (Tiflis 1938) 28-32; cf. Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 264. 

14 L 45, 46, 47, 50, 100 (in some MSS: Armazael , Amazer, Amza[h]er ); RL I 50 ( Amazaer ). 

15 Gf. Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 373. 

16 Gf. infra, Sauromaces II (No. 23). 

17 For the institution of the Vitaxae: Stud. Chr. Cane. Hist. 154-63; for those of Gogarene 
(the Iberian March) 185-92. 


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tuous necropolis . 18 It is easy to see how a later memory might represent 
these powerful vassals as a line of parallel kings. 

This has been, quite rightly, recognized by Ingoroqva; only he attempted 
to prove too much. He actually makes of the Vitaxae of Gogarene of the 
first-second centuries a branch of the royal Iberian house that was co-sovereign 
with it. According to him, while the Kings resided at Mts f khet f a, the Vitaxae 
were co-kings at Armazi; he even styles them ‘Vitaxae of Armazi’ — all 
of which is quite unwarranted . 19 And he seeks to discover in the names of 
the Armazic diarchs, as found in the History of Leontius and in the Royal 
List , the names of the first- and second-century Vitaxae of Gogarene, which 
have been revealed through the discovery of their necropolis. These attempts 
are unconvincing and involve, moreover, a not wholly justifiable reshuffling 
of the historiographical evidence . 20 Two fundamental errors lie at the basis 


18 For the territorial analysis of the Vitaxate of Gogarene: ibid. 467-75, 499; for the nec- 
ropolis of Armazi: A. Ap'akije et al., Mcxeta. Itogi arxeologideskix issledovanij I: Arxeolo- 
giceskie pamjatniki Armazis-xevi po raskopkam 1937-1946 gg. (Tiflis 1958). 

19 Ingoroqva, moreover, would divide the Vitaxae of Gogarene into two branches: of 
Armazi and of Artanuji (in Gholarzene), and make the Bagratids descend from them: cf. 
also his Giorgi Merc'ule, k'art'veli mcerali meat'e saukunisa (Tiflis 1954) 72, 76-80, 442-3, 
445-7. See for all this Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 264-6, 334-6. 

20 Thus, e.g., the Vitaxa Bersumas (see Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 260), whose name is an 
obvious derivation from the Aramaic name Bar §auma (cf. G. CereTeli, ‘ EpigrafiSeskie 
naxodki v Mcxeta, dervnej stolicy Gruzii, J Vestnik drevnej istorii 1948 2.50), is identified 
with the ‘ King of Mc f xet f a ’ named Bartam by L 43-4, and Bratman by RL I 49. According 
to Ingoroqva, this king’s name ought to be Berc f um/Barc e om/Barac f man. In this connection, 
he proceeds to interpret the two mysterious signs on the silver dish of the Vitaxae Bersumas 
(from Grave 3, No. 69: Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 260) as an early form of the Georgian ec- 
clesiastical majuscules B + P and K f . And these letters mean, accordingly, either *Berc f um, 
Vitaxa of Iberia’ ( B[erc'um] P[atiax§i\ K'[art' lisa]) or else ‘Berc'um Vitaxa, (son of) K'ar- 
jam’ (. . .[je]K'[arjmisi]) ( Jvel k'art'. matiane Nos. 14 and 14a; in Bulletin de VInstitut 
Marr 10 [1941] 411-7; cf. Ap'akije, Mcxeta 61-2: it is not certain that these signs are Georgian 
letters). Now, the latter name, K'arram of RL I 49 ( rectius K c arjam: N. Marr and M. Bri&re, 
La Langue gtorgienne [Paris 1931] 570) and K'art'am of L 43-4, designates another of the 
diarchs, whom Ingoroqva makes the father of Berc'um of M e cxet f a. Yet L is definite in 
stating that K f art f am was a younger brother of Bartam, while RL without specifying 
their kinship, and reversing the order in which they are named, shows them to have been 
contemporaries and co-rulers. These two kings were, according to the History of the Diarchy, 
suceeded by another pair, P'arsman and Kaos: L 44; RL I 50 (= Marr-Bri&re 571: Kaoz). 
The latter is identified by Ingoroqva with the Vitaxa Publicius Agrippa (Stud. Chr. Cauc. 
Hist. 260): Jvel. k'art'. matiane No 15a. The reason for this identification seems to be found 
in the last four letters of the first of the Vitaxa’s two names. In addition to the improbability 
of these far-fetched identifications, there is the fact, which Ingoroqva appears to have 
overlooked or ignored, that Bartam and Kaos, whom he would make ‘Vitaxae of Armazi’ 
or Armazic co-kings, were according to both L and RL Kings of Mc e xet f a, while K'arTam 
and P'arsman, whom he would make diarchs of Mc^xet'a, were according to these sources 


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CHRONOLOGY OF THE KINGS OF IBERIA 


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of this artificial construction — a contrivance no less obvious than the ancient 
story of the Diarchy. (1) There is the assumption that the Vitaxae exercised 
sovereign rights at Armazi, whereas all that the available evidence can show 
is that they were important vassals of the Kings of Iberia, who constructed 
their burial ground, and possibly also a palace, in the vicinity of the holy 
city of Iberian paganism, where others too were buried. (2) There is a de- 
liberate avoidance, dictated by the nationalistic parochialism of some Soviet 
Georgian scholars, of all recognition of the Armenian context of the institu- 
tion of the Vitaxae in general and of the Armenian connections of the Vitaxae 
of Gogarene in particular. 21 

Finally, there is Ingoroqva’s misconception about the origin of the Georgian 
Era. This era, which had gained general currency by the first half of the 
eleventh century, but of which the earliest known use in an original document 
occurs A.D. 897, 22 was computed from the Creation, which was dated as in 
5604 B.C. 23 However, the Georgians divided the time after the Creation 
into a number of paschal cycles of 532 years each, calling each cycle a k'oro - 
nikon (<%qovik6v)^ and usually, instead of dating with an annus mundi , 
reckoned from the beginning of a given k'oronikon. 25 The paschal cycle of 


actually Kings of Armazi. Finally, RL I 50 has for a later pair quite improbably two P r ars- 
mans, one at each capital, at the same time; and Ingoroqva accepts this: Nos. 18 and 18a. 

21 Echoing this nationalistic parochialism, D. M. Lang (in Speculum 12.195) reproaches 
the Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. (1) with placing ‘virtually all of ancient Iberia' in the Vitaxate 
of Gogarene, and (2) with not considering ‘for some reason never properly explained' the 
Vitaxae of Gogarene, when Iberian vassals, as distinct from the Vitaxae of Gogarene, when 
vassals of Armenia — which, in his words, ‘ makes as much sense as identifying the Chief 
Justice of the Supreme Court with the Governor of Rhode Island. ' This, I submit, is rather 
unwarrantable: (1) it is the Georgian sources themselves that attest to the inclusion of 
Iberian lands in the Vitaxate; (2) although the Vitaxae of the first and second centuries 
are known only from archaeological evidence (chiefly in connection with the discoveries at 
Armazi), and not from either Georgian or Armenian historical writings (Stud. Chr. Cauc. 
Hist. 260-1), their successors, the Vitaxae from the fourth to the seventh century, are well 
known from both Georgian and Armenian works (ibid. 262-4); and while to the latter they 
are the Iberian margraves, they are the Armenian margraves to the former (infra n. 140). 
To split these marcher-princes — whose territorial aspect is carefully analyzed in the book 
in question — into two different groups, one Iberian, the other Armenian, would make ‘ as 
much sense' as to consider, say, the Dues de Lorraine as entirely distinct from the Herzoge 
von Lothringen. — For parochialism see also Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 184 n. 163. 

22 In the AdiSi Gospels: T f aqai§vili (Taqaishvili), ‘Georgian Chronology and the Begin- 
nings of Bagratid Rule in Georgia,' Georgica 1.1 (1935) 26; Toumanoff, ‘Chronology of 
the Kings of Abasgia and Other Problems,' Le Mus6on 69 (1956) 83-84. 

23 At earlier times and then parallel with the Georgian Era, other systems of computing 
time were used in Iberia and United Georgia: T f aqai§vili, op. cit. 9. 

24 Ibid. 9, 11. 

25 The earliest known use in original documents of the dating with a k'oronikon occurs 
in 853: Toumanoff, Chronology 84 n. 10; T e aqai§vili, op. cit. 26. 


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532 years (19 lunar years multiplied by 28 solar years) was the universally 
adopted basis of a perpetual calendar. 26 Only two paschal cycles have been 
in actual use in Georgia: the thirteenth (from the Creation), including the 
years 781-1312, and the fourteenth, of the years 1313-1844. In the nineteenth 
century began the reckoning exclusively from the birth of Christ. 27 In his 
day, the late Professor E. T'aqaishvili, struck by the fact that the first of 
the two historical paschal cycles was computed from the year 780 (781 being 
the first year of the cycle), argued that the adoption of this system in Iberia 
must have been occasioned by an historic event of national importance oc- 
curring at that date; and so he put the accession of the Bagratids to the 
Principate of Iberia, in the person of Ashot I the Great, at 780. 28 In this 
he erred, for Ashot I did not come to the Principate until 813. 29 

Ingoroqva then went further and proposed to consider the national era 
as coeval with national history. The Iberian kingdom arose on the threshold 
of the third century B.C., as a result of Alexander’s conquest of the Achaemenid 
empire. And so, by counting two paschal cycles back of the year 780, he 
arrived proleptically at a date that came close enough to that momentous 
epoch, 284 B.C. (A.D. 780 — 1064 [532 x 2j = 284 B.C.). This date was then 
taken to be that at which began the reign of the traditional first King of 
Iberia, Pharnabazus, and the initial point for the Georgian Era. Thus, too, 
a chronology of Iberian history, from that date to the early fourth century 
after Christ, was attempted. 30 

In actual fact, the reason for choosing the year 780 as the beginning of the 
Georgian system of chronology is quite another. The Georgian Era was an 
adaptation of the Era of the Romans, exactly as was the Armenian. This 
short-lived Era was elaborated in the partes Orientis in 363/364, but prolep- 
tically its beginning was projected back to the year 248/249, which was the 
beginning of the second millennium after the foundation of Rome. 31 However, 
this era, together with the lunar cycle of Constantinople on which it was 
based, became outmoded within two decades after its invention, when the 
Court of Constantinople adopted the lunar cycle of Alexandria and the Alex- 
andrian Era based on it. But it passed to Christian Caucasia. Thus the year 


26 V. Grumel, La Chronologie (Traite d'6tudes byzantines [BibliothSque byzantine] 1; 
Paris 1958) 52-3. 

27 T'aqaisvili, Georg. Chron. 11. 

28 Ibid. 16-25. 

29 Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 353. 

30 Jvel. k'art'. matiane 259ff. 

31 See infra n. 32. This disposes of T f aqai§vili's argument against this origin of the Georgian 
Era (as already suggested by Brosset) to the effect that in 248 the Georgians were not yet 
Christians and so could not adopt a system of chronology based on the date of the Creation 
and the paschal cycle: Georg. Chron. 13. 


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CHRONOLOGY OF THE KINGS OF IBERIA 


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780, so far from having anything to do with Georgian history, is simply the 
closing year of a paschal cycle as adapted to the Era of the Romans (248 + 
532 = 780). And it provided the Iberians with the opportunity of having, 
like their Armenian neighbors, their own national era. On this basis, too, 
they soon arrived at their own date of the Creation, 5604 B.C., by counting 
back exactly twelve cycles from A.D. 780 (532 x 12 = 6384; 6384 — 780 = 
5604). 32 The speculations of T f aqaishvili and Ingoroqva regarding the origin 
of the Georgian Era are due, once again, to treating things national micro- 
cosmically and so out of context with the ‘outside.’ Whatever chronology 
of history is based on such speculations must be largely illusory. 

Mention must be made here also of the historical chronology of Georgia 
elaborated in the eighteenth century by the historian and geographer Prince 
Vakhusht, natural son of King Vakhtang VI of Georgia. It cannot now be 
wholly accepted, yet it is very far from being worthless. Vakhusht had access 
to archival and other sources since lost, and it appears that it was from those 
sources that he acquired his knowledge of the length of various reigns, which 
may in part at least lie at the basis of his chronology. His data were inserted 
by M. F. Brosset into the text of The Georgian Annals, edited and translated 
by him. 33 Finally, quite recently, A. Gugushvili assembled all the then avail- 
able chronological data in his useful Chronological-Genealogical Table, without, 
however, attempting to offer any solution of the various problems. 34 

The present attempt to establish a chronology of the early Kings of Iberia, 
from the beginning down to the year 580, is based on several assumptions: 

(1) the evidence of the works of Leontius and of Juansher (790/800) 35 is to be 
preferred to that of the Royal List (which is partly dependent on them); 

(2) from these sources, despite the maze of embellishment and confusion, the 
essential framework of history, facts of succession, and the length of reigns 
— what is usually tenaciously preserved by tradition and stored in archives — 
can be discovered; (3) however, the History of the Diarchy in Leontius, being 
hopelessly defective, cannot be relied on — which lacuna is, happily, filled 
by contemporary foreign sources that happen to be sufficiently ample for 
precisely that period; (4) in general, the evidence of the Georgian historio- 


32 Grumel, Chronologie 146-53 and, for the Armenian Era, 140-5. 

33 For convenience’ sake, M. F. Brosset, Histoire de la Gtorgie, depuis Vantiquite jus- 
qu’au XIX e sibcle , traduite du georgien I (St. Petersburg 1849) may be consulted. For The 
Georgian Annals (K'art'lis C'xovreba), the official corpus historicum , containing, inter alia , 
Leontius and JuanSer ( infra n. 35), see Med. Georg. Hist. Lit. 161-81; Stud. Chr. Cauc. 
Hist. 20-23. 

34 A. Gugushvili, ‘The Chronological-Genealogical Table of the Kings of Georgia,’ Geor- 
gia 1.2-3 (1936) 109-53. 

35 JuanSer JuanSeriani, History of King Vaxtang Gorgasal (hereinafter J), for which see 
Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 24-5. 


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graphic sources is to be completed for the period anterior to the formation 
of Georgian historiography, and if need be also corrected, by the evidence 
of contemporary or near-contemporary foreign sources; (5) synchronistic data 
are to be carefully analyzed and utilized; (6) when the known sources fail 
to provide chronological indications, Vakhusht’s data regarding the length 
of various reigns may be — at least provisionally — accepted, in order to 
fill the gap (Vakhusht’s absolute chronology of the Kings of Iberia is in- 
correct inasmuch as he postulated the wrong initial date: 302 B.C. instead 
of c. 229 B.C., but, as will be seen, the traditional relative chronology of 
regnal years, preserved by him, is remarkably exact, with exceptions that 
are readily explicable); and finally, (7) Iberian history can be properly under- 
tood only in the context of the history of neighboring States, that is, Ar- 
menia, Iran, and the Roman Empire. 

* 

* * 

The king-list to follow gives Classical variants of the royal names first, 
local forms second. The former actually make their recorded appearance 
earlier than the latter, which moreover may have been altered before becoming 
fixed in local historical literature. The ‘traditional’ regnal years are the ones 
preserved by Vakhusht. The dates between parentheses after the kings’ names 
are those proposed in this study. 

The Pharnabazids 36 

1. Pharnabazus /P'arnavaz I (299-234 B.C.). L 20-26; RL I 49; 37 Primary 
History of Armenia 9. 38 — K'artTosid nephew of Samar, mamasaxlisi of 
Mts f khet c a. 39 Aged 3 when Alexander invaded Iberia, he became first King 


36 The Georgian name of the dynasty is P'arnavaziani, which the Armenian historical 
tradition has preserved as P f arawazean (Faustus 5.15) and P'arazean (. Primary History 
of Armenia 14; cf. infra n. 39). For Faustus (fifth century) and the Prim. Hist. Arm. (pro- 
ably the early fifth century), see Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 16, 18. 

37 The Royal List (149) makes Pharnabazus the son of an earlier King of Iberia named 
Azo. This is a deformation of the data of Leontius concerning Azon, who according to 
him (18-25) was the ruler of Iberia for Alexander, defeated by Pharnabazus who thereupon 
became King. Both RL and the Primary History of Iberia (which serves as an introduction 
to the Conversion of Iberia: Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist . 23; Med. Georg. Hist. Lit. 150), speak 
of Azo as ‘first King of Iberia’ and son of the ‘King of Arian-K'artTi, ’ brought to Iberia 
by Alexander. For the confusion which produced, and was produced by, this story, see 
Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 89 n. 124. 

38 Apud Eusebius (Sebeos), History of Heraclius, ed. Tiflis (1913) 9; cf. Stud. Chr. Cauc. 
Hist. 80 n. 101, 306 n. 4. 

39 For the K'artTosids, the theophanic dynasts of pagan Iberia, claiming descent from 
the eponymous divine primogenitor of the nation, K'artTos, see ibid. 87-8 and n. 120, 91, 
92 n. 131; for the title of mamasaxlisi (Dynast) of pre-royal Iberia: 88, 91 n. 128, 115 n. 185. 


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of Iberia at the age of 27 and reigned for 65 years. — Alexander’s invasion 
of Iberia, remembered not only by the Iberian historical tradition, but also 
by Pliny the Elder (4.10.39) and Solinus (9.19), appears to be memory of 
some Macedonian interference in that country, which must have taken place 
in connection with the expedition mentioned by Strabo (11.14.9) sent by 
Alexander in 323 to the confines of Iberia, in search of gold mines. 40 It may 
therefore be assumed that Pharnabazus was born c. 326, became King c. 299, 
and died c. 234. — L 23, 25: he became King of Iberia under the suzerainty 
and with the assistance of Antiochus ‘of Syria’ ( asorestanisa ), i.e., the Seleu- 
cid. — Actually, ‘Antiochus’ is used here as the Seleucid royal name par 
excellence , a practice often met with in the early Georgian historical works 
with regard to foreign monarchs. 41 It will be remembered that the first Seleucid 
King, Seleucus I, imposed in 301 his overlordship on Orontes III of Armenia. 42 
Now, Seleucid control of Armenia seems to have hinged on holding it within 
the pincers of the combined pressure, Seleucid from the south and vassal 
Iberian from the north. 43 Accordingly, the imposition of it in 301 may well 
have necessitated the setting up — within some two years — of the vassal 
Iberian kingdom. 44 

2. Sauromaces/Saurmag I (234-159). L 26-27; RL I 49. — Son of Phar- 
nabazus I, married to an Albanian princess and credited with a long reign, 
traditionally of 75 years. 45 


40 Ibid. 81-2 n. 104. It is difficult to think that Alexander, who never conquered Ar- 
menia in 331 (W. W. Tarn, ‘ Alexander: Conquest of the Far East/ The Cambridge Ancient 
History YI [1964] 383), should have then bothered with sending an expedition to Iberia. 
The expedition in connection with a search for gold mines, on the other hand, fits well with 
the projects with which Alexander occupied himself on his return from the East and shorty 
before his death in 323: it may be connected with his interest in the Caspian (Hyrcanian) 
Sea, and its possible junction with the Euxine, as part of his exploration of the waterways 
surrounding his empire: cf. Tarn 421. 

41 As when the name Chosroes ( Xuasro ) was used in the Georgian historical sources to 
designate any Sassanid monarch: Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 366 n. 35; cf., for the similar Persian 
and Arabic usage, F. Justi, Iranisches Namenbuch (Marburg 1895) 138. Cf. also occasional 
Byzantine reference to the Caliph as ‘ Chosroes ’ (Cedrenus [Bonn] II 433; Psellus, Chro- 
nographia 1.10, 11). 

42 Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 289-90. 43 Ibid. 449, 81 n. 104. 

44 0aQvdpa^og was the classical equivalent of the Iranoid name, which in Georgian became 
P^arnavaz, and which was derived from the OP. farnah, Avest. x w arenahh (‘light/ [royal] 
‘glory’): Justi, Namenbuch 92,493. The second King of Iberia of that name ( q.v .) is so 
called by Cassius Dio. 

45 Sauromaces/Saurmag is derived from the Iranoid Sauro-m(ates) + the diminutive 
suffix -aka: Justi, op. cit. 292-3, 318, 522. The second King of that name (q.v.) is called 
Sauromaces by Ammianus Marcellinus. — L 27 calls this King’s wife an Iranian and daugh- 
ter of the ruler (erist'av = ‘duke’) of Bardavi, the capital of Albania. This may be an 
anachronistic reference to the later (from the first century on) Arsacids of Albania. 


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TRADITIO 


The Nimrodids 
or 

The Second Pharnabazid Dynasty 46 

3. Meribanes/Mirvan I (159-109). L 27-8; RL I 49. — Iranian (possibly 
an Orontid or a Mihranid 47 ) son-in-law and adopted son of Sauromaces I 
and cousin of his wife. Duke of Samshvilde before ascending the throne. 
He is traditionally assigned a reign of 50 years. During it, ‘the kingship of 
Antiochus passed away in Babylon’ (L 28: miic'uala antiok'isa mep'oba babi - 
Ions), which evidently refers to the capture of Mesopotamia from the Seleucids 
by the Arsacids in 141. Here again (supra: Pharnabazus I), the royal name 
of Antiochus stands for the Seleucid dynasty. In the same way the con- 
temporary King of Armenia is named (L 28) Artaxias (= Arshak), 48 whereas 
it seems that the reference is merely to an Artaxiad king. Artaxias I of Ar- 
menia reigned from 188 to c. 161, his son Artavasdes I from c. 161 to post 
123. 49 Meribanes I married his daughter to Artaxias (Arshak), son of the King 
of Armenia, who was most likely Artavasdes I. 50 

4. P'arnajom (109-90). L 29-30; RL I 49 (P'arnajob). — Son of Meribanes I, 
killed in battle against his brother-in-law who succeeded him; reigned, tra- 
ditionally, for 19 years. 51 


46 In Georgian NebroTiani, which means ‘race of Nimrod’ and was applied to the Iranians. 
Since the dynasty of Meribanes I was thus given a name which meant little more than 
‘Iranian Dynasty,’ we may well call it ‘Second Pharnabazid’: Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist . 81 
n. 103; cf. infra n. 56. 

47 Ibid. 317, cf. 81 n. 103. — This King’s name Mirvan was derived from Pehl. MiOrapan 
f Justi, Namenbuch 208 [erroneously: Mitnapan ]), hence, in Latin, Meribanes. Yet in Iberia 
it became interchangeable with Mirian, derived from Pehl. Mihran = O. P. *Mi0rana (Justi 
214-6); thus Meribanes III (< q.v .), so called by Ammianus Marcellinus, was called Mirian 
in Georgian. — It is possible, however, that the Mihrans were not one of the Seven Great 
Houses of Iran before the Sassanid epoch: W. Hening, in Bulletin of the School of Oriental 
and African Studies 14 (1954) 510. 

48 For the confusion in Iberian, as in Armenian, historical literature between the Artax- 
iads and the Arsacids, and the consequent substitution of the name Arsaces (Arsak) for 
Artaxias (Artases), see Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 76 n. 85, 81 n. 103, 111. For the name Ar- 
taxias, see ibid. 285 and n. 27. 

49 For Artaxias I and Artavasdes I, see H. Manandian, Tigrane II et Rome (trans. 
H. Thorossian, Lisbon 1963) 15-22. Manandian seems to consider the defeat of Antiochus III 
at Magnesia in 190 rather than the Peace of Apamea of 188 (which officially recognized 
Artaxias as King) as the beginning of his reign. 

50 The Iberian mention of Artavasdes I’s son Artaxias, who became King of Iberia, may 
be an important addition to Artaxiad genealogy. 

61 There is no Classical variant of his name, since he is not mentioned in any Graeco- 
Roman sources. It must, like Pharnabazus, be derived from farnah. Cf. Justi, Namenbuch , 
92, 495. 


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The Artaxiads 52 

5. Artaxias (Arsaces /Arshak) I (90-78). — L 30; RL I 49 (Arsok). — 
Brother-in-law of P'arnajom, son-in-law of Meribanes I and presumably son 
of Artavasdes I of Armenia: reigned, traditionally, for 12 years. 

6. Artoces/Artog (78-63). Florus 1.40.28 (Arthoces); Appian, Bell, mithr. 
103, 117; 53 Cassius Dio 37.1-2; Eutropius 6.14 (Artaces); Festus 16; Orosius 
6.4.8; L 30; RL I 49 (Arik). — Son of Artaxias I (L); reigning, traditionally, 
for 15 years; defeated by Pompey, made to accept Roman suzerainty and 
to surrender his sons as hostages in the Spring of 65 (Florus et al .). 

7. Pharnabazus II/Bartom (63-30) Cassius Dio 49.24 (Pharnabazus); L 30- 
33 (Bartom); RL I 49 (Bratman). — Son of Artoces, husband of an Artaxiad 
(Arsacid 54 ) princess, overthrown by Meribanes II (L) after a reign of, tra- 
ditionally, 33 years. Earlier, in 36, he was defeated by P. Canidius Crassus 
for Mark Antony (Dio). 55 


The Nimrodids 

8. Meribanes /Mirvan II (30-20). L 31-33; RL I 49 (Mirean). — Son of 
P'arnajom, aged 1 at his father’s death (L 30), he married the widow of 
Pharnabazus II/Bartom and reigned, traditionally, for 10 years. 

9. Artaxias (Arsaces /Arshak) II (20 B.C.-A.D. 1). L 33-5; RL 49 (Arsuk). 
— Son of Meribanes II, defeated and slain in single combat by his successor, 
after a reign of, traditionally, 20 years. 


The Third Pharnabazid Dynasty 56 

10. Pharasmanes I/Aderk (A.D. 1-58). Bilingual, Graeco- ‘ Armazic ’ inscrip- 
tion and ‘Armazic’ inscription on two stelae from Grave 4 of the Necropolis 
of the Vitaxae of Gogarene at Armazi; 57 Mts'kheFa inscription of 75 (see 


52 In Georgian ArSakuni: supra n. 48. 

53 Appian, Bell, mithr. 103 has the corrupt form ’'Orcoxog. Cf. Justi, Namenbuch, 40, 
485. 

54 Supra n. 48. 

55 It is difficult to see any connection between this King’s two names, but this kind of 
polyonymy is not uncommon in Iberian history. 

56 Though Pharnabazids in the female line only, this dynasty was called P'arnavaziani: 
Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 81 n. 103. 

57 Ap'akije, Mcxeta 69-72, 72-3, PI. lx, lxi, lix. — Justi, Namenbuch 91, gives no ety- 
mology of this King’s name; but see f J. Markwart, ‘La province de Parskahayk', ' Re- 
vue des etudes arminiennes, N.S. 3 (1966) 299-300. 


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TRADITIO 


Mithridates I); L 33-43 (Aderk); RL I 49 (Rok); Tacitus, Ann. 6.32-5; 11.8; 
12.44-51; 13.37; 14.26; Cassius Dio 58.26; cf. Josephus, Ant . 18.97. — Son 
of Pharnabazus IPs daughter by K'art'am (son of Souromaces I’s daughter 
by a grandson [jisculi, here, obviously, in the sense of ‘descendant’] of Phar- 
nabazus I’s daughter); born posthumously, his father having been killed at 
the same time as Pharnabazus II: L 32. Fie became King of Iberia at 30, 
having defeated in a single combat Artaxias II ( q.v .); Our Lord was born in 
his first regnal year; and he reigned for 57 years: L 35. During his reign, 
the Iranian Monarchy became consolidated, and the Iberians and the Ar- 
menians obeyed it: 58 L 43. — This, though the wording seems to imply a 
reference to the rise of the Arsacids, can only refer to the resumption of Iran’s 
aggressive foreign policy in Armenia under Vologases I (51-77). — (As Phar- 
asmanes), having become reconciled with his brother Mithridates, he helped 
him to become King of Armenia under Roman suzerainty in 35: Tacitus 
6.32-6. In 51, being at an advanced age and having long reigned in Iberia, 
Pharasmanes helped his son (by his earlier wife) Radamistus, whom he feared, 
to dislodge Mithridates from the Armenian throne and to become King in- 
stead: Tac. 12.44-5. But, sometime before 58, he had Radamistus executed: 
Tac. 13.37. — The last certain mention of Pharasmanes seems to be in 58 
(see Mithridates I). So far, then, the traditional regnal years from Pharnaba- 
zus I to Pharasmanes I have been vindicated. 

11. Mithridates /Mihrdat I (58-106). L 43-54; RL I 49-50. Immediately 
after the preceding reign, these two sources introduce the story of the Diarchy 
(schematic in the latter source), which can be resumed as follows: 11th reign 
(traditionally of 17 years): the sons of the preceding King, K c art c am at Armazi 
and Bartam 59 at Mts c khet f a (mentioned in the reverse order) — 12. (trad. 15 
years): P'arsman, son of K'arFam, at Armazi and Kaos (RL Kaoz), son 
of Bartam, at Mts c khet f a; — 13. (trad. 16 years): Azork (RL Arsok), son of 
P f arsman, at Armazi and Armazel, son of Kaos, at Mts c khet f a; — 14. (trad. 
10 years): Amazasp, son of Azork, at Armazi and Derok (RL Deruk), son 
of Armazel, at Mts'khePa; — 15. (trad. 16 years): P'arsman the Good (K c veli), 
son of Amazasp, at Armazi and Mihrdat, son of Derok, at Mts'khePa (in- 


58 Obviously the birth of Our Lord — as of the year 1 — could be made a synchronism 
for this reign only after the Christianizing of Iberia. — The reference to the Iberians as 
vassals, together with the Armenians, of Iran is erroneous here in view of the pro-Roman 
policy of Pharasmanes I and his successors, Mithridates I and Pharasmanes III ( q . u.). 
The mention of the two peoples in one breath is something like a consecrated formula in 
early Georgian historical writings, symbolizing the essential unity of the Caucasian oiku- 
mene. 

59 It is essentially the same name as Bartom; for this reason the latter spelling is retained 
in the case of this diarch in Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 265. 


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stead of this pair, RL has [a] P^arsman K f veli and P e arsman Avaz, and [b] 
Rok and Mihrdat. The second P'arsman is a corrupt memory of P r arsman 
K c veli’s High Constable of the same name: L 51ff.). The artificial and spurious 
character of the story of the Diarchy has already been referred to earlier 
in this study. There is, however, an interesting synchronistic indication 
preserved in it. It is the insertion in L 45-9 of the narrative of the campaign 
in Iberia conducted on behalf of the King of Armenia by the Prince Sumbat 
Bivritiani, which had been provoked by a raid of Iberians and Alans (Osse- 
tians) in Armenia. This seems an obvious enough reference to the Alan in- 
vasion of cis-Caucasia in 72 and of King Tiridates I of Armenia’s expedition 
against the Alans. 60 And it was in order to forestall such incursions that the 
Emperor Vespasian had the older capital of Iberia, Armazi/Harmozica, 
fortified; and this is commemorated in his Greek inscription of 75. 61 This 
inscription mentions the King of Iberia of the day, Mithridates, son of King 
Pharasmanes, and his son Amazaspus. King ‘ Michridates ’ of Iberia, son of 
King Pharasmanes, is also mentioned in the ‘Armazic’ inscription on a stele 
from Grave 4 from the Necropolis of the Vitaxae of Gogarene. 62 There is 
still another inscription, in Greek and found in Rome, which mentions Ama- 
zaspus, 63 brother of King Mithridates of Iberia, who died and was buried 
near Nisibis (Antiochia Mygdonia), while accompanying the Emperor Trajan 
on his Iranian campaign of 114-117. 64 The genealogy of the Iberian royal 
house of the time is hopelessly muddled in Cassius Dio 58.26.3-4. Confusing 
Radamistus (see Pharasmanes I) with his brother Mithridates and, to some 
extent, his uncle, he asserts that the latter was succeeded in Armenia by 
another Mithridates, apparently his son and brother of Pharasmanes, who 
was his successor as King of Iberia. 

60 Cf. R. Grousset, Histoire de VArminie des origines a 1071 (Paris 1947) 109. For Sumbat 
Bivritiani, see supra n. 9. 

61 W. Dittenberger, ed., Orientis graeci inscription.es selectae I (Leipzig 1903) 586-8 
No. 379. For the corrected reading, see A. Amiranasvili, ‘O greceskoj nadpisi is okrest- 
nostej Mcxeta, * Izvestija Gosudarstvennoj Akademii Istorii MateriaVnoj KuVtury 5 (1927) 
409-411. 

62 Ap f akije, Mcxeta 72-3, PL. lxi, lix. — Michridates, like MiQQiddrrjg , renders Mihrdat 
derived from *Mi0radata, for which see Justi, Namenbuch 209-13. 

63 Although the original Iranoid form of this name is Hamazasp (Justi, Namenbuch 124- 
125, cf. 486), and the later Hellenized form of it is 'Ajua^aojirjg, the Georgian form of the 
name, so far met with, is Amazasp. The Rome inscription ( infra n. 64) has A/xd^aanog 
In the Mc f xet f a inscription it is written IAMAZJIQ; the Kaabah of Zoroaster inscription 
of Sapor I has AMAZACIJOY: cf. infra n. 76. 

64 This inscription has been published many times, e.g., Anthologia Palatina, ed. Cougny 
3 (Paris 1890) 132; also Fragmenta choliambica in Loeb Classical Library, The Characters 
of Theophrastus , ed. J. Edmonds, 278. — The death of Amazaspus occurred at the very 
beginning of Trajan’s campaign, for which see, e.g., N. Debevoise, A Political History of 
Parthia (Chicago 1938) 218-9; for the death of Amazaspus, 222. 


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TRADITIO 


On the basis of the above epigraphical data as well as the information of 
Tacitus (already adduced in part for Pharasmanes I, q.v.), the genealogy of 
the Royal House of Iberia in the first century appears to have been as follows: 


Pharasmanes I Mithridates 

King of Iberia King of Armenia, 35-37, 41-51 

m. N. daugther of Parasmanes I) 
(Tae. 6.32-3; 11.8-9; 12.44-7; Dio 58.26; 


1 

Princess 

1 

Radamistus 

Mithridates I 

1 

Amazaspus 

1 

Several Princes 

1 

Zenobia 

m. Mithrida- 

King of Armenia, 

King of Ibe- 

f 114 

killed with the 

m. Radamis- 

tes of Ar- 
menia, killed 
with him in 
51 (Tac. 12. 
46-7) 

51-54; executed 
by Pharasmanes I 
before 58; m. 

Zenobia 
(Tac. 12.44-51; 
13.6,37) 

ria (Armazi 
inscr.; inscr. 
of Amazaspus) 


parents in 51 

tus (Tac. 
12.46,51) 


We may undoubtedly add the memory of this complicated epoch to the 
causes already mentioned of the rise of the legend of the Diarchy. Here indeed 
we see three pairs of severally correlated kings: 1. Pharasmanes I of Iberia 
and Mithridates of Armenia, brothers, father- and son-in-law, enemies; — 
2. Radamistus and Mithridates of Armenia, nephew and uncle, brothers- 
in-law, son- and father-in-law, enemies, the one supplanting and causing 
the death of the other; — and 3. Pharasmanes I of Iberia and Radamistus 
of Armenia, father and son, enemies, too, the one fearing the other and sending 
him to overthrow Mithridates in Armenia and then, after the loss of the Ar- 
menian throne, executing him. And it is, in the event, the first three of the 
‘diarchicaP reigns of the legend that appear to be a deformed memory of the 
historical reign of Mithridates I of Iberia. The fact that Vespasian fortified 
in 75 for the King of Iberia the former capital of Armazi, which had remained 
one of the defence-fortresses of Mts r khePa, may indicate that it was the King’s 
residence at that time, — that in fact it was Mithridates I who was remembered 
by the legend as Armazel, i.e., as ‘he of Armazi,’ figuring in, precisely, the 
third ‘diarchical’ pair. We may thus assign to him, provisionally, the sum 
total of these three reigns, which is 48 years; and, as will be seen, the sub- 
sequent chronology fully bears out this. 

Inasmuch as Mithridates I succeeded Pharasmanes I in 58, Tacitus’ ref- 
erence (14.26) to the acquisition in 60 of some Armenian border territory 
by the latter must be interpreted as referring to the former, — an easy enough 
confusion between father and son, predecessor and successor, especially as 
Pharasmanes is talked of by Tacitus at great length in the preceding pages, 


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and Mithridates the son not at all. 65 Indeed, the ‘Armazic’ inscription from 
the unilingual stele from Grave 4 of the Necropolis of the Yitaxae of Go- 
garene 66 mentions victories gained in Armenia by the Vitaxa Sharagas for 
King Michridates, son of King Pharasmanes, which can only refer to the 
events of 60. 

Finally, the close ties between Iberia and Rome, to which Vespasian’s 
fortifying of Armazi and the titles of (pikoxaloaq and (ptXoQcn/uaToq , attributed 
to Mithridates I in the inscription of 75, bear witness, may account for the 
name &A~AAAHZ which is borne by a King of Iberia in an inscription on a 
silver dish from Grave 3 of the Necropolis of the Vitaxae. 67 This Hellenized 
name, built round the Roman name Flavius, is very likely an Aramaic epithet 
meaning ‘friend of Flavius,’ or else 0XaovLoddrrjg , an Iranoid formation 
like Mithridates. 68 It can have been assumed only under the Flavian Em- 
perors, i.e., in the years 69-96, and so only Mithridates I can have borne it. 

12. Amazaspus /Amazasp I (106-116). Inscription of 75; L 50 (Amazasp 
and Derok, diarchs); RL I 50 (Amazasp and Deruk, diarchs). — Son of Mi- 
thridates I (Inscr. of 75; but in L son of Azork). — To this epoch must belong 
King Xepharnuges, whose Master of the Court, Iodmanganes, was brother- 
in-law of Sharagas, Vitaxa under Mithridates I, as is revealed in the bilingual 
stele from Grave 4 of the Vitaxae of Gogarene. 69 This name appears to be a 
Hellenized Iranoid or Irano-Semitic epithet meaning something like ‘Royal 
Splendor’ or ‘Might of Saturn’ 70 and was, as we may assume for chron- 

65 Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 101 should be corrected accordingly. 

66 Supra n. 62. 

67 Ap'akije, Mcxeta 60-63, PI. iv(l). 

68 There have been purely Iranoid names Aadoq and Dada, related to the modern Persian 
for ' grandfather ’ : Justi, Namenbuch 76, 75. But this can hardly be expected here. We 
may, therefore, rather suppose Addpq to be a Hellenized form of the Semitic dad (‘friend’). 
‘Friend of Flavius’ expresses the same thing as the two Greek epithets of Mithridates I, 
as found in the Inscription of 75: ‘Friend of Caesar’ and ‘Friend of the Romans.’ That 
a Semitic vocable should have been used, is but natural in a society which, like that of 
pre-Christian Iberia and pre-Christian Armenia, used Aramaic as one of its written lan- 
guages. Cf. also infra n. 70. 

69 Ap'akije, Mcxeta 69-72, PI. lix, lx. This bilingual, Graeco-Aramaic (‘Armazic’) 
inscription commemorates Serapetis, daughter of the co-Vitaxa Zeuaches, and wife of Iod- 
manganes, Master of the Court {enixQOTcoq) of King Xepharnuges of Iberia. The inscrip- 
tions also mention that Zeuaches and Iodmanganes’s father Publicius Agrippa were con- 
temporaries of Pharasmanes I. At the same time the ‘Armazic’ inscription on another 
stele from the same Grave 4 mentions Saragas, son of Zeuaches, as a contemporary of Mi- 
thridates I: ibid. 72-72, PI. lxi, lix. Cf. Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 260 (where through a 
typographical error a line, ‘of King Xepharnuges,’ has unfortunately been omitted under 
the name of ‘Iodmanganes, Master of the Court’). 

70 This name appears to be a compound of Old Persian x$aya and *farnukalfarnuxa 

( <farnah)j found respectively in and 0aQVOvx°Q : Justi, Namenbuch 173-4, 94-5; 


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TRADITIO 


ological reasons, applied to Amazaspus I. — He reigned, traditionally (as the 
4th ‘diarchical’ pair), for 10 years. 

13. Pharasmanes /P'arsman II the Good (116-132). Arrian, Peripl. 15; 
Cassius Dio 69.15.1-2; (Hist. Augusta) Aelius Spartianus, Vita Hadriani 
13.9; 17.10-12; 21.13; L 50-54 (P'arsman KVeli and Mihrdat, diarchs); RL 
I 50 (P f arsman K'veli and P c arsman Avaz, diarchs, and the extra pair: Rok 
and Mihrdat). — Son of Amazaspus I (L 50), on whose reign L projects the 
historical enmity of Pharasmanes I and his brother Mithridates of Armenia 
(see Mithridates I). During his reign, the Armenians and the Romans (ber- 
jenni ) became friends, and the King of Armenia, with Roman aid, fought 
the Iranians (L 53-4). This must be a reference to the restoration of the 
Armenian Monarchy in 117, after the momentary annexation of Armenia by 
Trajan, and to the setting up of Vologases I as King of Armenia. Pharas- 
manes is said to have married Ghadana, daughter of the King of Armenia 
(who must have been Vologases I) 71 (L 53, 54). — Pharasmanes refused in 
129 to come and pay homage to the Emperor Hadrian then touring the East, 
and prompted the Alani to invade the civilized world, 71a even though the 
Emperor had sent him greater gifts — including an elephant — than to any 
other king of the East. In his pique, the Emperor dressed some 300 criminals 
in the gold-embroidered cloaks which were part of the return gift of Pharas- 
manes, and sent them into the arena (Dio, Spartianus). Traditionally, he 
reigned (as the 5th, and last, of the ‘diarchical’ pairs) for 16 years. 

14. Radamistus/Adam (132-135). L 54; RL I 50 (Ghadam). — Son of 
Pharasmanes II, died after 3 years of reign, leaving the regency for his one- 
year-old son in the hands of his mother, Pharasmanes II’s widow Ghadana 

( L )- 72 

15. Pharasmanes /Pcarsman III (135-185). Cassius Dio, reliqu. libri 70 
(= 69) 15.3; (Historia Augusta ) Julius Capitolinus, Vita Pii 9.6; L 54; RL I 


Ap'akije, Mcxeta 72. Else, the second part of it may have reached Iberia via the Semitic 
pharnug = Kewan-Saturn: Justi 94. For the possibility of Semitic vocables in the Cauca- 
sian names of pre-Christian times, see supra n. 68. 

71 Or, possibly, of a Prince of Greater Sophene, cf. Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 304. 

71a The invasion of the Alani in 136 (Debevoise, Parthia 242-3) is said by Cassius Dio 
69.15 to have been provoked by Pharasmanes. This need not necessarily imply that that 
king must have been still alive when it actually took place. Moreover, the confusion between 
a celebrated monarch and his immediate successor or his eventual successor and namesake 
is something that can easily be expected in foreign sources; cf. supra Mithridates I (No. 
11), infra Pharasmanes III (No. 15). 

72 The classical form of his name is found in Tacitus ( supra Mithridates I); the local 
form may have been Gadam, rather than Adam: Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 304. Cf. Justi, 
Namenbuch 257, 107, 494. 


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50. — Born one year before his father Radamistus’s death (i.e., in 134); his 
mother Ghadana was Regent until he came of age (L). Traditionally, she 
was Regent for 14 years (therefore he came of age at 15) and he reigned for 
36 years thereafter. — Pharasmanes came to Rome as guest of the Emperor 
Antonius Pius (138-161), together with his wife, son, and noble retinue; he 
was especially honored, being allowed to sacrifice in the Capitol and to have 
his equestrian statue in the Temple of Bellona; and the Emperor increased 
the territory of his kingdom (Dio, Capitolinus). He could not have been 
younger than 20 at the time of his visit, so it may be dated as c. 154. After 
Capitolinus, the trip to Rome has been, through an understandable confusion, 
attributed to Pharasmanes II. 73 

16. Amazaspus /Amazasp II (185-189). L 55-7; RL I 50. — Son of Pha- 
rasmanes III (L 54), he perished in a battle against his nephew and successor 
(L 57), after a reign of, traditionally, 4 years. 


The Arsacids 74 

17. Rev I the Just (189-216). L 58; RL I 50. — Son of the King of Ar- 
menia (Vologases II, 180-191) and of the sister of Amazaspus II, wrested 
the throne from his maternal uncle (L 57) and reigned, traditionally, for 
27 years. — With Vologases (Valarshak) II, the Arsacids became at last 
firmly established on the Armenian throne: they reigned thereafter, with 
but slight interruptions, until the end of the Armenian Monarchy in 428. 
That this consolidation of the Arsacids in Armenia should have been ac- 
companied by the acquisition of the Iberian throne for one of their princes, 
can hardly be regarded as unexpected. Rev married a Roman lady named 
Sephelia (L 58). 75 

18. VaclPe (216-234). L 58; RL I 50. — Son of Rev I, reigned, traditionally, 
for 18 years. 


73 ‘ Pharasmanes rex ad eum Romam venit plusque illi quam Hadriano detulit. ' — For 
modern historiography, see e.g. Gugushvili, Chron.-Geneal Table 146; and my Stud. Chr. 
Cauc. Hist. 448 n. 40 (to be corrected accordingly). 

74 In Georgian, ArSakuniani: cf. e.g. L 63. 

75 His sobriquet is mart'ali in Georgian: an obvious translation of dixaioq , one of the 
epithets most frequently used in the intitulatio of the Arsacid Great Kings, cf. B. V. Head, 
Historia nummorum (Oxford 1911) 819-22. No classical variants of his name are known. 
Rev seems to be an abbreviation of the Iranoid Rewniz. Cf. Justi, Namenbuch 260, 342-3. 
Rev's wife is said to have come from ‘the Empire' (saber j net' it'); for this Georgian word 
as used in the sense of ‘the Roman Empire' see Toumanoff, ‘Christian Caucasia between 
Byzantium and Iran: New Light from Old Sources,’ Traditio 10 (1954) 161 n. 222. 


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TRADITIO 


19. Bacurius/Bakur I (234-249). L 59; RL I 50. — Son of Vach'e, reigned, 
traditionally, for 15 years. 75a 

20. Mithridates /Mihrdat II (249-265). L 59; RL I 50. — Son of Bacu- 
rius I, reigned, traditionally, for 16 years. 

Save for the names, the filiation, and the length of regnal years, L gives 
absolutely no information regarding these three successive kings. A similar 
dearth of material is found in L only in connection with the single reigns of 
Meribanes II (No. 8) and of the ‘diarchs’ Amazaspus and Derok (cf. No. 11, 
Mithridates I). The Iberian historical tradition appears here to have lost or 
suppressed the memory of the events that occurred under these three kings. 
And yet those years saw the advent of Septimius Severus, Caracalla, Ma- 
crinus, and Severus Alexander to Armenia and the triumphs of the Great King 
Sapor I. In 244, the Emperor Philip ceded to him, upon the defeat and death 
of Gordian III, the suzerain rights over Armenia, and so, doubtless, also over 
Iberia and Albania. In 252, Sapor occupied Armenia and began a war on 
Rome which culminated in 260 in his celebrated victory over Valerian. One of 
the Sassanian inscriptions on the so-called Kaabah of Zoroaster, at Naqsh-i- 
Rustam, shows that following that victory the Iranians overran Iberia, Al- 
bania, and other Caucasian lands and began implanting in them the Zoroastrian 
religion which was then becoming the official religion of their empire. In 
his inscription Sapor I mentions his vassal, Amazaspus /Khamazasp, King 
of Iberia. We must suppose that either this was another name for Mithri- 
dates II or that Amazaspus was an anti-King set up by Sapor in opposition 
to Mithridates. The latter supposition is the more likely. Indeed, the His - 
toria Augusta (Trebellius Pollio, Valeriani duo 4) has preserved an informa- 
tion that indicates that after the defeat and capture of Valerian the Kings 
of Iberia and Albania proved Romanophile and hostile to Iran. It was this 
that must have provoked the Iranian campaign in these countries, as mentioned 
in the above inscription; and it seems quite probable that the pro-Roman 
Mithri-dates was replaced in 260 by the pro-Iranian Amazaspus. The latter’s 
name suggests that he may have been a scion of the previous, third Phar- 
nabazid Dynasty, who thus may have been pitted by the Sassanid emperor 
against the Iberian Arsacid. This intrusion the Iberian historical tradition 
seems to have preferred to pass over in silence. It is perhaps significant that 
the next Arsacid King of Iberia, Mithridates II’s son Aspacures I, came to 


75a A fourth-fifth century Iberian dynast Bakur is called Bacurius jBa>c{K)ovQioQ in the 
contemporary Roman and Greek sources: cf. infra at nn. 132-145. This was a purely Geor- 
gian way of Hellenizing the Iranoid name, which in the case of Iranians and Armenians was 
Hellenized as Pacorus/ZZa^opog : Justi, Namenbuch 238-40. 


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19 


the throne in 265, the moment, precisely, when Sapor I’s imperial activity 
was definitely coming to an end. 76 Thus: 

20a. Amazaspus/Khamazasp III, anti-King (260-265), can be added to 
this list. 

21. Aspacures/Asp'agur I (265-284). L 59-62; RL I 50. — Son of Mithri- 
dates II (L 59). 77 — Into the story of his reign, as well as into that of his 
successor’s reign, there have been inserted passages based on the Armenian 
Epos of the Iranian war 78 and betraying a close dependence on the Agath- 
angelus, 1.19-23 (L 59) and 2.24-36 (L 62). 79 This Epos, fusing together the 
reigns of several Kings of Armenia, places the protracted conflict between 
the Armenian Arsacids and the Iranian Sassanids in the reign of Chosroes II 
of Armenia (f 287) alone and therefore makes this king a contemporary of 
the First Sassanid Great King Artashir (c. 224 - c. 241). 80 Rut there is, in 


76 For the Sassanian inscriptions on the Kaabah of Zoroaster, i.e., the trilingual (Pahlavi, 
Middle Persian, and Greek) inscription of Sapor I and the Middle Persian inscription of the 
Priest Kartir, see M. Sprengling, Third Century Iran : Sapor and Kartir (Chicago: The 
Oriental Institute, University of Chicago 1953). The historical context briefly alluded to 
above is brilliantly dealt with ibid. 2-6, 77-111 (one may, however, question the propriety 
of referring to the Zoroastrian ritual sacrifices as ‘high masses’); cf. also K. Trever, Ocerki 
po istorii i lcuVture Kavkazskoj Albanii (Moscow /Leningrad 1959) 131-136. It is from 
Kartir’s inscription (Sprengling, transl. p. 52, line 12) that it is made clear that the Iranian 
inroads into Iberia and other lands, and the implanting of Zoroastrianism in them, occurred 
after the defeat of Valerian. For the weakening of the aging Sapor I’s imperial policies, 
see ibid. 109. The pro-Iranian King of Iberia is called in Sapor’s inscription xmzasp vyr§n 
MLK ’ in Pahlavi (9, line 25), amcspy vl=rvcan MLK ’ in Middle Persian (12, lines 30-31), 
and in Greek AMAZACUOY TOY BACIAEQC THC IBHPIAC (76, line 60 and Plate 
12, line 60). — The survival of collaterals of the III Pharnabazid Dynasty after the ac- 
cession of the Arsacids to the Iberian throne seems confirmed by the story of St. Nino’s 
miraculous cure of an ‘Amazaspian prince’ (sep'ecul Amzaspan ): L 115. 

77 The second king of this name (No. 24) is called Aspacuras by Ammianus Marcellinus. 
Cf. Justi, Namenbuch 46. 

78 For this Epos, see M. Abelyan, Istorija drevneramjanskoj literatury I (Erevan 1948) 156-62. 

79 Cf. also the version of Ps. Moses, 2.71, 73, 74, 78, 82, which is different from the version 
version of both Agathangelus and L. The latter is obviously based on Agathangelus, even 
occasionally using the same expressions, but briefer. It is curious that the name it gives 
to Chosroes II, ‘Kosaro,’ is closer to what the Greek Agathangelus calls that King ( Kov - 
oagcov), rather than to the form found in the Armenian Agathangelus (Xosrov). — For 
the versions of Agathangelus, and the Gregorian Cycle in general, see Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 
16; for Ps. Moses of Chorene, ibid. 18, 330-334. 

80 P. Ananian, ‘La date e le circostanze della consecrazione di S. Gregorio Illuminatore, , 
Le Muston 74 (1961) 43-73.) — The reference of L 59 of the Iberian participation in the 
war on Iran may well be part of the borrowing from Agath. 1. 19-23, which makes mention 
of Iberian and Albanian aid to King Chosroes, rather than an independent memory pre- 
served by the Iberian historical tradition. The Great King whom the Agath. calls, anachro- 
nistically, ‘ArtaSIr, ’ Leontius denominates ‘K'asre’ ‘who is known as Ardabir [rectius 
ArdaSirR (59); cf. supra, n. 41. 


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TRADITIO 


connection with these inserted passages, and in spite of their chronological 
dislocation, the indication that Aspacures I and Chosroes II were contem- 
poraries (L 59-62). It can be supposed that Leontius — or his source — being 
aware of this synchronism for the reign of Aspacures, explained it in the 
light of the Armenian Epos with which he was familiar. Hence the error of 
placing the rise of the Sassanids in the reign of Aspacures I (L 59). This also 
explains why the passages based on the Epos have been inserted in this part 
of Leontius. 

In view of this, the traditional 3 years assigned to the reign of Aspacures 
I cannot be correct. And there is more evidence to bear this out which has 
a much vaster import. There are three historically certain dates among the 
regnal years of the Kings of Iberia of the first five centuries of our era, one 
of them approximate. These dates are: A.D. 1 for the accession of Pharas- 
manes I (No. 10), A.D. 361 for the death of Meribanes III (No. 22), and c. 446 
for the accession of Vakhtang I (No. 32). Adding the traditional lengths of 
reigns of all the kings from Pharasmanes I to Vakhtang I, the number of 

448 years is obtained, separating A.D. 1 from 499. The reason for the date 

449 instead of c. 446 will be seen later (Vakhtang I). This, by the way, as 
well as the fact that the sum total of regnal years between Pharnabazus I 
and Pharasmanes I is 299 (which places the accession of the former at 299 B.C.), 
is rather a remarkable vindication of the reliability of the traditional length 
of reigns preserved by Vakhusht. 

Since Meribanes III died in 361 after a reign of, traditionally, 77 years, his 
accession must have taken place in 284. However, the time actually elapsed 
between the accession of Pharasmanes I in A.D. 1 and the accession of Meri- 
banes III is 16 years longer than the sum total of the traditional regnal years 
between these two kings. For, as has been seen, according to tradition, Meri- 
banes I IPs predecessor, Aspacures I reigned for only 3 years, 365-368. But 
if this were accepted, and Meribanes’ accession consequently put at 368, 
his death-date would have to be put at 345 (268+77). In other words, the 
reign of Meribanes III, or rather his accession-date and his death-date, must 
have been misplaced: 16 years earlier than where historically it should be. 
Prior to the establishing of his death-date as 361, this misplacement could 
of course be freely attempted. Since, however, the length of the regnal years 
of so great a monarch as the First Christian King must have been especially 
well remembered, and could not be tampered with, it was the length of the 
regnal years of his relatively obscure predecessor Aspacures I that was cor- 
respondingly shortened. The death of Aspacures I was thus put 16 years 
prior to the real date of the accession of Meribanes, and so also of course that 
accession itself: 284-16 = 268. And this left Aspacures I with but 3 years 
of reign (268 = 265+3). As has already been seen, this length of his reign 
is contradicted by the synchronisms found in his own story. 


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CHRONOLOGY OF THE KINGS OF IBERIA 21 

There is, it seems to me, one possibility of explaining this misplacement. 
Meribanes III had two sons. The elder, Rev II (No. 22a) died before his 
father and in the same year as he; but he had been at an unspecified date co- 
opted by him. Rev II’s son Sauromaces II (No. 23) then succeeded Meribanes 
in 361, but in 363 was overthrown by his uncle Aspacures II, Meribanes Ill’s 
younger son; and his reign was consigned to oblivion by the Iberian historical 
tradition. We may suppose that Rev II was co-opted 16 years prior to his 
death, i.e., in 345 (when Meribanes III was 68); and that later some source 
or sources of L, in transmitting the essential chronological data, mistook 
Rev II’s co-optation by his father for his succession to him. Thus the moment 
of his co-optation was made to coincide with the death of Meribanes III; 
and this must be the reason for misplacing the latter’s reign 16 years back. 
Next, the Iberian historical tradition, anxious to disguise the fact of the 
usurpation of Aspacures II, made him the immediate successor of Meri- 
banes III, counting from the latter’s erroneous death-date 345. Aspacures IPs 
reign lasted, traditionally, for 22 years, which would make it cover the years 
345-367. However, these 22 years must have been made to include the 2 years 
of the ignored reign of Sauromaces II. Thus, originally, Aspacures II must 
have been credited witn only 20 years of reign, i.e., 345-365. The date of 
the end of his reign was remembered rightly, as subsequent chronology will 
show, but its beginning was projected much further back, in order to reach 
345, the supposed death-date of Meribanes III. In actual fact, Aspacures II 
usurped his nephew’s throne only in 363, and so reigned for only 2 years. 
As the reign of Aspacures I was shortened by 16 years, because of the mis- 
placement of Meribanes Ill’s reign, so also the reign of Aspacures II was 
lengthened: the date of his accession 363 was pushed back 2 years (= reign 
of Sauromaces II) to 361 and then 16 years (= co-regnancy of Rev II) to 
345. 


The Chosroids 81 

22. Meribanes /Mirian III (284-361). Ammianus Marcellinus 21.6.8 (Me- 
ribanes); Conversion of Iberia 82 50-59; L 63-130; RL I 50 (Mirean); Ps.Moses 
of Chorene 2.86 (Mihran); Life of St. Nino. 88 — Son of the Great King of 
Iran 84 by a concubine (L 64), succeeded Aspacures I on the throne of Iberia 
and married the latter’s daughter, the Princess Abeshura, last of her dynasty, 


81 In Georgian, Xosro(i)ani or Xosro(v)ani: Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 83 n. 105. The im- 
plied meaning was ‘Sassanid’; cf. supra, n. 41. 

82 Ed T c aqaisvili ( supra n. 2). 

83 Ninth-century addition to the Conversion of Iberia: Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 23. 

84 Named by the dynastic name of Chosroes (K'asre) but also ArtaSIr: cf. supra, Pharna- 
bazus I (No. 1) and nn. 41, 80. 


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TRADITIO 


on the invitation of the Iberian princes, being then aged 7 (L 62-64). — This 
story, elaborately told, disguises a somewhat different historical reality. 
The defeat of Iran by the Emperor Carus in 283 proved fruitless. The Em- 
peror’s death in that year was followed by a period of internal difficulties 
for the Roman Empire. The Sassanids appear to have profited by that to 
gain an important diplomatic victory. Having had to contend with the 
constant hostility of the Armenian Arsacids, they now must have seized the 
opportunity presented by the extinction of the Iberian Arsacids so as to 
replace them with a purely Iranian house. It has been shown that the Chos- 
roids of Iberia (as the dynasty founded by Meribanes III has been called) 
were a branch of the Mihranids, one of the Seven Great Houses of Iran. Other 
Mihranid branches soon were placed on other Caucasian thrones: in Gogarene 
and in the Armeno-Albanian principality of Gardman. 85 The assertion that 
Meribanes was not a legitimate son of the Great King is a way of admitting 
that his origin was in reality not imperial Sassanid but rather princely 
Mihranid. Indeed, to act as the boy-King’s Protector, the Great King sent 
one of his grandees named Mirvanoz 86 (L 64-65), i.e., another Mihranid. The 
sending of a mere boy to the country he was destined to rule, in order to 
acclimatize him to it, has its precedent in Armenian history, in the case of 
the Polemonid Zeno-Artaxias III (18-34) (Tacitus, Ann. 2.56). 

There is inserted into the story of Meribanes III another passage based 
on the Armenian Epos of the Iranian War and corresponding to Agathangelus 
4.39-47 (L 68). It narrates the beginnings of Tiridates the Great, son of 
Chosroes II of Armenia, who was brought up in the Roman Empire and then 
restored on the Armenian throne by the Emperor. 87 We are told, next, of 
Meribanes’ war, together with the Great King, against the Empire; and then 
of the peace established between the Emperor, Tiridates of Armenia, and 
Meribanes of Iberia (L 69-70). This seems an obvious enough reference to 
the Roman war of the Great King Nerses, in 297, in which Iberia must, 
as an Iranian vassal, have taken part; and to the Peace of Nisibis of 298, 
following the defeat of Iran, in which the Empire acquired suzerain rights 
over Armenia and Iberia. 88 In fact, there is in the narrative (L 67) a confused 
mention of a conference held near Nisibis. 

The rest of the narrative (L 72-130) is given to the story of the Conversion 
of Iberia to Christianity. On the basis of various chronological indications, 
found in L and in other sources, it has been established that through the 
preaching of St. Nino, Illuminatrix of Iberia, Meribanes III turned to Chris- 


86 Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 83 and n. 105; 187-90, 253, 473, 478-81. 

86 See supra n. 47. 

87 Including the detail of the combat of Tiridates and a Gothic king. 

88 See Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 149-50. 


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CHRONOLOGY OF THE KINGS OF IBERIA 


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tianity, in 334; that he was baptized together with his family, and the whole 
kingdom officially adopted Christianity, in 337; and that he died in 361. 88 

A statement in Juansher (159) has it that from Meribanes III to Vakhtang I, 
157 years elapsed. 90 The traditional, but erroneous, death-dates of Meribanes 
and of Vakhtang are 345 and 502 (supra Aspacures I; infra Vakhtang I 
[No. 32]); and the difference between them is indeed 157 years. At the age 
of 15, i.e., in 292, Meribanes lost his first wife, Queen Abeshura, who died 
without issue; he subsequently married his second Queen, Nana from Pontus. 91 
Meribanes of Iberia was being cajoled by Constantius II in 360 92 to remain 


89 Ibid. 374-7. 

90 This is the kind of chronological notices that must lie at the basis of the traditional 
chronology of the Iberian kings. The difficulty in Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 377 n. 99 is thus 
at last solved. 

91 After Queen Abesura’s death, ‘the kingship and queenship of the Pharnabazid kings 
came to an end in Iberia’ ( dadesrula k' art' Is §ina mep'oba da dedop'loba p' arnavaziant' a 
mep'et'a): L 66. A little later, mention is made of King Meribanes, his second Queen, and 
their children: L 116, 119. The second wife of Meribanes was ‘from the Empire, from Pon- 
tus, daughter of Oligotos/Uhlatos/Uliotor, Nana by name’ (saber jnet' it', pontoit', asuli 
oligotosisi /uhlatosisi /uliotorisi, saxelit' nana ): L 66. That the Queen’s father was a neigh- 
bouring dynast or a high Roman official (for saberjnet'i in the sense of ‘the Empire’ see 
supra n. 75), seems safe to assume. ‘Pontus’ may refer here to the Kingdom of Bosporus, 
a remnant of the Ponto-Bosporan Monarchy and a vassal-state of Rome, still existing in 
the first half of the fourth century. One is tempted, moreover, to see in the name of Nana’s 
father — which, as found in the MSS in the above three variants, is an obvious corruption — 
a rendering of ‘Olympius’ or ‘Olympus’ (cf. ulpia/ulumpia, a Georgian rendering of the 
name Olympias: Toumanoff, ‘The Fifteenth-Century Bagratids and the Institution of 
Collegial Sovereignty in Georgia, ‘ Traditio 7 [1949-1951] 175); and to connect it with the 
Bosporan (dynast of official?) Olympus, whose son Aurelius Yelerius Sogus Olympianus 
was, first, in the Roman service and, then, Bosporan viceroy of Theodosia. The latter is 
known from a Greek inscription of A.D. 306 dedicated to ‘the Most High God’ on the oc- 
casion of the building of the Jewish ‘prayer house’ ( ngoGev%rj , i.e., synagogue) at Pantica- 
paeum : B. Latyschev, Inscription.es antiquae orae septentrionalis Ponti Euxini graecae et 
latinae, further ed. by idem and Y. Shkorpil, in Iszvestija Arxeologiceskoj Komissii 10.26-9; 
cf. Y. Gajdukevic, Bosporskoe Carstvo (Moscow /Leningrad 1949) 457-8. Under the influence 
of the Jewish settlers (from the first half of the first century; ibid. 347, 377) and, sub- 
sequently, of Christianity (from the first half of the fourth century: ibid. 465), there developed 
in the Kingdom of Bosporus, in the second-third century, a syncretistic monotheism, pro- 
fessed by religious societies ( Qiaooi ) worshipping ‘the Most High God’ (Oeog vipioxog), 
as invoked by Aurelius Yalerius Sogus Olympianus (ibid. 363-4, 433-5, 465-6). If true, 
the above conjectural identification of Queen Nana’s father with Olympus might throw 
new light on the religious influences at work in connection with the Conversion of Iberia. 

92 The date is determined by the context of Ammianus. Shortly before (21.6.4) the third 
marriage of Constantius II is mentioned, which took place in the Winter of 360 (E. Stein, 
Histoire du Bas-Empire I [tr. J. R. Palanque, Paris 1959] 157); and, immediately after 
(21.6.9), the accession of Helpidius to the post of Praetorian Prefect of the East, which 
took place on 4 February 360 (Grumel, Chronologie 367). 


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TRADITIO 


on the side of the Empire, in the war then being waged on Iran (Ammianus 
Marcellinus). 93 

22a. Rev II (co-King 345-361). L 70, 71, 104, 119, 123, 126, 129, 130; RL 
II 59. — Son of Meribanes III (L), co-King with his father (with appanage 
in Kakhetia and residence at Ujarma: L 71, 126), died before him and in 
the same year (L 129). Married Salome, daughter of Tiridates the Great, 
King of Armenia (L 70, 71, 76, 121, 126, 127, 129, 131). For his dates, see 
supra Aspacures I. 94 

23. Sauromaces II (361-363, diarch 370-378). Ammianus Marcellinus, 27.12; 
30.2 — Ignored by the Iberian historical tradition. According to Ammianus, 
this King, vassal of Rome, was expelled by the Iranians after the Treaty 
of 363 and replaced by his cousin Aspacures (27.12.1,4; consobrini : 27.12.16); 
but (in 370) 95 the Emperor Valens restored him, though only in the south- 
western half of Iberia, with the Cyrus separating his realm, which was under 
Roman suzerainty, from the north-eastern realm where Aspacures continued 
to reign as an Iranian vassal (27.12.16-17). Despite the Iranian failure to 
remove Sauromaces by diplomatic means (30.2.2-3), the Roman defeat at 
Adrianople in 378 brought about the passing of the whole of Iberia under 
Iranian control (30.2.7-8). 96 Peranius, son of Sauromaces, was a hostage in 
Iran (27.12.16). 97 

In order to place this important information of Ammianus Marcellinus into 
the context of the Iberian historical tradition, from which it seems to have 
been excluded, the genealogy of the immediate descendants of Meribanes III, 
as revealed by that tradition, must be examined. Most of the source-ref- 
erences in the table to follow will be found in connection with the individual 
kings. 


93 RL L 50 concludes, after Aspacures I, with ‘Lev, father of Mirian, * which is quite 
spurious. With the facility of the r-l mutation in Georgian, one may wonder whether this 
imaginary kingship of Lev were not a memory of the co-kingship of Meribanes Ill’s son 
Rev II. 

94 RL II 60 makes Rev die in the reign of Aspacures II/Bakur (No. 26), and also makes 
the former the father of the latter. Cf. infra , Sauromaces II. 

95 For this date: Stein, Histoire du Bas-Empire I 187. 

96 Cf. Stud. Chr. Cauc . Hist. 460-2. It was this historical Diarchy that was projected 
by the Iberian historical tradition back to the first century; cf. supra: Mithridates I, Ama- 
zaspus I, Pharasmanes II (Nos. 11, 12, 13). 

97 Called Ultra by Ammianus, which name, as Fr. Peeters has shown, stands for Peranius, 
an Iranoid name (Piran used in Caucasia; the historian mistook it for the Greek nepav: 
P. Peeters, ‘Les debuts du christianisme en G6orgie d’aprks les sources hagiographiques, ’ 
Analecta Bollandiana 50 (1932) 39 n. 3; cf. Justi, Namenbuch 246, 252. 


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1. Meribanes/Mirian III 


Rev II 2. [Varaz-JBak^ar/Bakur I Princess 

| m. Peroz of 

Gogarene 

I 

[Sauromaces II] 5. Tiridates/TUrdat 3. Mithridates/Mihrdat III Prince 

omitted by the 
hist, tradition 


[Peranius] Princess m. 4. Varaz-Bak'ar/Bakur II m. Princess 

omitted by the 
hist, tradition 


7. Mithridates/Mihrdat IV Tiridates 6. Pharasmanes/P'arsman IV 

iT'rdat 

According to the Iberian tradition, as found in L, Meribanes III was suc- 
ceeded by his son Bak'ar I, called Bakur in RL II 59. L lays much stress 
on the fact that Meribanes appointed Bak'ar /Bakur to succeed him and 
crowned him, after Rev’s death and just before his own (L 129-30). Yet 
he records that Bak^ar /Bakur, on becoming King, took care to deprive his 
nephews, sons of Rev, of their rights to the throne (L 131). This is an ad- 
mission of their better rights, as indeed is true. For Rev II was the elder 
son of Meribanes III, as is clear from precisely this as well as from the fact 
that it was he who was co-opted by his father. This statement of L reveals 
something else, namely, that Rev had more than one son. 98 Subsequently, 
however, L mentions only one son, Tiridates — so named obviously in honor 
of his maternal grandfather Tiridates the Great of Armenia — who finally, 
late in life, reached the throne. 

The protestations of L about Bak'ar/Bakur’s appointment and coronation 
by his father and his silence about the brother (or brothers) of Tiridates, 
son of Rev II, are a clue. Official Iberian historiography quite clearly at- 
tempted to conceal an unpleasantness that would, if revealed, have clashed 
with the general atmosphere of sanctity with which tradition endowed the 
immediate family of the First Christian King. But this unpleasantness has 
in fact been made known — by Ammianus Marcellinus. Unmistakably Sauro- 
maces II, the elder son of the co-King Rev II and the immediate successor 
of Meribanes III, in 361, was expelled in 363 with the aid of infidel Iran, by 


98 L 123 reports a miraculous cure, in 337, of Rev's then sole child. His other son (or 
sons) must have been born later. 


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26 


TRADITIO 


his uncle, Meribanes’ younger son Bak r ar /Bakur. For the sake of decorum, 
then, the latter was made the immediate successor of his father, and Sauro- 
maces II’s brief reign was expunged from the historical memory. Yet RL 
II 59 has preserved, in its usually confused way, the memory of the fact 
that Meribanes III was succeeded by a King who was his grandson and son 
of Rev II, when it calls Bakur ‘son of Rev.’ 

We must then conjecture that Bak c ar /Bakur was the Aspacures of Am- 
mianus Marcellinus. The Georgian name appears to be a shortened form of 
the name, which in its full form is Varaz-Bak e ar /Bakur, as used of that King’s 
grandson. It is difficult to escape the impression that Varaz-Bakur is a cor- 
rupt version of Asp'agur /Aspacures." Now, exactly as Rev named his second 
son after the latter’s maternal grandfather Tiridates, so Meribanes may be 
supposed to have named his second son after the latter’s maternal grand- 
father, Aspacures. It is true that Ammianus says Sauromaces and Aspacures 
were consobrini , cousins, not nephew and uncle. But he must have been 
confused by two sets of relationships: (1) as in 363: Sauromaces and Aspa- 
cures, nephew and uncle, enemies; and (2) as in 370: Sauromaces and Mithri- 
dates III (who had meanwhile succeeded his father), indeed consobrini , also 
enemies. Thus, Mithridates was, obviously, confused with his father, because 
of the similarity of their political relationship to Sauromaces; and to that 
composite person, the usurping cousin of Sauromaces, the name of Mithrida- 
tes’ father, and son, was applied. 

The motivation for the addition of Rev II’s and Sauromaces II’s 100 regnal 
years to those of Aspacures II seems clear. It was imperative to obliterate 
the memory of the usurpation that occurred in the immediate family of the 
First Christian King. For this, the memory of the reigns of the rightful line, 
wronged by that usurpation, was also to be expunged. The chronological 
tradition was indeed successful in this task, but other sources of L had, never- 
theless, kept the memory of Rev II’s co-regnancy with his father. 

24. Aspacures II ([Varaz]-Bakurl) (363-365). Ammianus Marcellinus 27.12 
(Aspacures); L 70, 128, 129-31 (Bak'ar); RL II 59-60 (Bakur). — Son of 
Meribanes III (L), 101 reigned, traditionally, for 22 years; but see supra the 
notices on Aspacures I and on Sauromaces II, whom he expelled with the 
aid of Iran (Ammianus). 


99 Here, as in the case of this king’s grandfather, RL gives, for a change, a more correct 
form of the royal name than L. 

100 No such need existed in connection with Sauromaces IPs second reign, in 370-378, 
because it occurred simultaneously with that of Mithridates III. 

101 For the error of RL, see supra n. 94. 


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25. Mithridates /Mihrdat III (365-380, diarch 370-378). Ammianus Mar- 
cellinus 27.12; 30.2 (Aspacures); L 131-132 (Mihrdat). — Son of Aspacures II, 
reigned, traditionally, 15 years (supra, Sauromaces II). 

26. Aspacures III (Varaz-Bakur II) (380-394). L 132-37 (Varaz-Bak'ar); 
RL II 60 (Varaz-Bakur). — Son of Mithridates III (L 132). During his reign 
of, traditionally, 14 years, the Iranians penetrated into and ravaged Armenia, 
and Iberia became tributary to them (L 136), which is an obvious reference 
to the Partition of Armenia in the Treaty of Acilisene of 387. 102 Being ir- 
religious, 103 he had two wives at the same time: the daughter of Tiridates, 
son of Rev II (doubtless in order to strenghthen his position from the point 
of view of dynastic legitimism) and the granddaughter of the first Mihranid 
Vitaxa of Gogarene P'eroz and of his wife, a daughter of Meribanes III (L 132, 
135, 137). 104 

27. Tiridates /Trdat (394-406). L 137; RL II 60. 105 — Son of Rev II (L), 
whose reign, of, traditionally, 12 years represented a reaction against the 
younger line of the Royal Family. 106 

28. Pharasmanes/P f arsman IV (406-409). L 138; RL II 61. 107 — Son 
of Aspacures III by the Princess of Gogarene (L 135, 138), reigned biefly 
(L 138), traditionally for 3 years. 

29. Mithridates /Mihrdat IV (409-411). L 138; J 139; RL II 61. — Son 
of Aspacures III by the Princess of Iberia (L 135, 138), deposed after a reign 
of, traditionally, 2 years by the Iranians and deported. 

30. Arch'il (411-435). Koriun, Life of St. Mashtots' 15.2 (Artsiul); 108 J 139- 
42; RL II 61; Ps. Moses of Chorene 3.60 (Artsil). — Son of Mithridates IV, 
he married Maria, said to be of the family of the Emperor Jovian; during his 
reign of, traditionally, 24 years, he waged war against Iran (J 139-41). This 
must be a memory of the Roman-Iranian war of 420-422, in which Iran was 
defeated; and this must have faciliated Iberia’s relations with the Empire. 109 


102 Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 151-2 and n. 6. 

103 In Georgian urcmuno, which in the fifth-sixth centuries implied also a pro- Iranian 
political orientation: ibid. 461. 

104 Ibid. 262, 473-5. 

105 RL makes Tiridates a brother of Aspacures II/Bakur and predecessor of Aspacures 
II I /Varaz-Bakur. TiQiddrrjg ~ Iranoid TIrdat, Arm. Trdat (Justi, Namenbuch 326-7); 
it is odd that the Georgian (very rare) name should begin with an aspirate t f . 

106 L calls him ‘old man’; if born after 337 ( supra n. 98), he was no more than 58. 

107 RL calls him ‘sister’s son’ of Tiridates and makes him succeed a spurious King Bakur 
son of Tiridates (60). 

108 For this source, written in 443-451, see Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 17. 

109 No Classical equivalent of the name ArclTil is known, though it is derived ultimately 
from ArtaxSaflra/Artaxerxes: Justi, Namenbuch 35. 


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TRADITIO 


31. Mithridates/Mihrdat V (435-447). J 140, 141-2, 143. — Son of Ar- 
chil, reigning, traditionally, for 12 years, he married Sagdukht, daughter of 
Barzabod, Mihranid Prince of Gardman. 110 

32. Vakhtang I Gorgasal/ Gurgenes (447-522). Lazarus of P'arpi 66-87 
(VakhKang); * * 111 Procopius, Bell . pers. 1.12 (Gurgenes); J 144-204; 112 RL II 
61-2. — Son of Mithridates V (J 143). His regnal years have so far been 
established as c. 446-522. 113 Now we are in the position to introduce more 
precision by putting his accession at 447. As has been seen (No. 21 supra , 
Aspacures I), the sum total of all the traditional regnal years resulted in 
making Vakhtang’s accession occur in 449. In the last analysis, the date is 
obtained by adding the sum total of the traditional regnal years of the kings 
after Meribanes III, which is 104, to the erroneous death-date of that monarch, 
345. But, as we have been able to see, the number 104 must be diminished. 
Instead of the 22 traditional regnal years of Aspacures II (No. 24), there 
should be only 2 of his reign and 2 of the reign of Sauromaces II (No. 23) 
between the death of Meribanes III and that of Aspacures II. The remainder 
of 18 (22 — 2 — 2) years must thus be subtracted from 104, leaving 86, which 
when added to the real death-date of Meribanes III, gives 447 (361+86) 
for the date of Vakhtang’s accession. Traditionally he is assigned a reign 
of 53 years. Since his traditional ascession-date is 449, his death accordingly 
is to be put at 502 (443+53). Now this date is 20 years earlier than the real 
date of his death; this error of computation is doubtless in connection with 
the lengthening by the same 20 years of the 2-year reign of Aspacures II. 

The events of the reign of Vakhtang I have been treated elsewhere in some 
detail with all their synchronistic possibilities; 114 only bare essentials of his 
chronology, but with greater precision, need thus be mentioned here. He 
was born in 440, became King — like Meribanes III — at 7 in the year 447, 
married (1) in 459 Balendukht, daughter of the Great King Hormizd III, 
and (2) after 484 Helena, a relative of the Emperor Zeno. In 482, he revolted 
against his suzerain, the Great King and effected a rapprochement with the 
Emperor; then sought Imperial aid against Iranian pressure, but was defeated 
and fled to the Imperial territories in 522, the year of his death. His sobriquet 
of Gorgasal was rendered as Gurgenes by Procopius. 115 


110 For the House of Gardman, see Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 475-481. For the epigraphic 

evidence for Queen Sagduxt, ibid. 480 n. 186. 

111 For the fifth-century Lazarus, see ibid. 17. 

112 The opening part of J, dealing with Vaxtang I and his three predecessors, appears to 
belong to an anonymous chronicler from UJarma being merely incorporated in J: ibid. 258. 

113 Ibid. 362-70. 

114 Ibid. 

116 rovQyevrjg is derived from the King’s sobriquet of Gorgasal (‘Wolfs head’): Stud. 
Chr. Cauc. Hist. 368-9 and n. 48. The name Vaxtang has no Classical equivalent. This 


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The reigns of this King’s five successors have also already been dealt with, 116 
in regard to their chronology and synchronisms and to the reliability of their 
chief source. Therefore, in their case, too, only the essentials of chronology 
and genealogy will be shown. 

33. DaclTi (522-534). J 204-5; RL II 62 (DaclTi Ujarmeli). — Son of Vakh- 
tang I (J 204), reigned for 12 years (J 205). 117 

34. Bacurius/Bakur II (534-547). J 206; RL II 62. — Son of DaclTi, 
reigned for 13 years (J). 

35. Pharasmanes/P'arsman V (547-561). J 206-7; RL II 63. — Son of Ba- 
curius II (J 206), reigned for 14 years (J 207). 

36. Pharasmanes/P'arsman VI (561-?). J 207-15; RL II 63. — Nephew 
(brother’s son) of Pharasmanes V (J 207). 

37. Bacurius/Bakur III (?-580). J 215-7; RL II 63. — Son of Pharas- 
manes VI (J 215). After his death the Iberian Monarchy was abolished by 
Iran, on the demand of the Iberian princes. 118 

* 

* * 

The flight of Vakhtang I Gorgasal to the Empire was followed by a war 
between it and Iran, which lasted from 526 to 532. 119 The peace that closed 
this first Persian War of Justinian I in 532 was, so far as Iberia was concerned, 
a diplomatic victory for Iran. For in that treaty, the suzerain rights over 
Iberia, which Vakhtang had thrown off in 482, passing under the Imperial 
protection, 120 now tacitly reverted to Iran. 121 One result of this was the 
curbing of the powers of the Iberian Kings, successors of Vakhtang, not 
only by the Iranian overlord but also by the pro-Iranian aristocracy of 
Iberia. 122 


King was its first bearer, for it was for him that a combination of three Pehl. words Varan- 
Xusraw-thang (for which see Justi, Namenbuch 343-4, 514, 139, 346) was contracted as one 
name: J 143, 158. 

116 Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 373-8. 

117 This name has no known Classical equivalent. Cf. Justi, Namenbuch 80. 

118 Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 378-82. 

119 For this war: Stein, Hist, du Bas-Empire II (Paris /Brussels /Amsterdam 1949) 267-73, 
287-93; J. B. Bury, History of the Later Roman Empire II (London 1923) 79-89; cf. Stud. 
Chr. Cauc. Hist. 371. 

120 Ibid. 364-8, cf. 368-70. 

121 This retrocession is nowhere specifically mentioned: Procopius, Bell. pers. 1.22. Yet 
the clause (1.22.16) allowing the Iberian refugees in the Empire to return to their homeland, 
signifies that Iberia was now in the Iranian sphere; cf. Stein, Hist, du Bas-Empire II 294. 

122 Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 371. 


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TRADITIO 


Already in 517/518, during one of Vakhtang’s conflicts with Iran, the 
Iranians succeeded in installing an Iranian viceroy in the King’s capital of 
Tiflis, while the King was relegated to but a section of his realm. 123 From a 
contemporary hagiographical source we learn that in 540/541 there was still, 
in Tiflis, an Iranian viceroy, but no king. 124 And Procopius actually states 
that, after the flight of Vakhtang I Gorgasal to the Empire, the Iranians 
abolished the Iberian Monarchy. 125 And yet, the trustworthy Juansher gives 
the list of Vakhtang’s five successors to 580, which has already been examined. 
The disrepute in which the Georgian Royal Annals (K e art' lis C'xovreba , of 
which J is a part) were once mistakenly held, 126 the silence of the above- 
mentioned hagiographical text, and the assertion of Procopius caused some 
earlier historians and their Soviet continuators 127 to accept as proved the 
abolition of the Iberian Monarchy sometime shortly after 523. Thus the 
clear witness of J was rejected and the fact overlooked that the hagiographical 
source in question treats but incidentally of the political situation in Iberia, 
and that Procopius, when speaking of things Caucasian, is not always immune 
from distortion. 128 

In showing the continuation of the Iberian Monarchy after Vakhtang I, 
J also shows that the Royal Family were relegated to their demesne of Kakh- 
etia, with its chief stronghold of Ujarma. 129 It is this that explains why in 
540/541 an Iranian viceroy was found in Tiflis, where he ruled with the as- 
sistance of the local aristocracy. After all, there was an earlier Iranian viceroy 
at Tiflis, in 517/518, but nobody has argued the abolition of the monarchy, 
as of that date, from this fact. This relegation of the Royal Family to Kakh- 
etia was, doubtless, the fruit of the Iranian and aristocratic victory over 


123 Ibid. 

124 The source is the Martyrdom of St. Eustace of Mc'xet'a; cf. ibid. 

125 Procopius, Bell. pers. 2.28.20-21. 

126 Gf. Med. Georg. Hist. Lit. 179-80; Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 20-23. 

127 Stein, Hist, du Bas-Empire II 294; A. Vasiliev, Justin the First (Cambridge 1950) 
271; JavaxiSvili, K'art'v. eris istoria I 246-7; W. E. D. Allen, A History of the Georgian 
People (London 1932) 376-7; Gugushvili, Chron.-Geneal. Table 115 — all connect the aboli- 
tion with the peace of 532, although there is absolutely nothing in what Procopius has to 
say about that peace to justify this assumption. Dr. Lang (in Speculum 12.195) invokes 
‘the best Soviet Georgian authorities ’ for the abolition of the Iberian Monarchy between 
523 and 531 and thinks that the evidence of the Martyrdom of St. Eustace militates against 
‘the vague tradition ’ of J. Actually, of course, there is no conflict between the two Georgian 
sources, as is clear from my remarks in the text above and from what has already been said 
in Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist, and the narrative of J is at this point anything but vague; in these 
circumstances Dr. Lang’s ‘argument from authority’ appears to be somewhat less than 
compelling. 

128 Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 369 n. 47. 

129 Ibid. 372-3. 


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the pro-Roman Crown; and it implied most certainly a curbing of its powers 
and in the first place, as in 517/518, a reduction of the territory under its 
control. Tiflis and Inner Iberia indeed seem to have become a direct de- 
pendency of Iran. It was this that Procopius mistook for the abolition, towards 
which it was in effect an important step. 130 One might even call this a virtual 
abolition, if one so wished; nevertheless, no historian is dispensed from re- 
specting juridical facts, and the real, juridical, abolition of the — albeit 
reduced — Iberian Monarchy occurred, as in no uncertain or vague terms 
J makes it clear, in 580. 131 


* 

* * 

There remains the question of the identity of Rufinus’ informant about 
the Conversion of Iberia to Christianity — fidelissimus vir Bacurius , gentis 
ipsius rex et apud nos domesticorum comes . . . Palaestini . . . limitis dux , 132 
Gelasius of Caesarea’s 6 maroraro? Bclxxovqioq . . . rov fiacnXixov yevovg. lzz 
The late Fr. Peeters was right in identifying Bacurius with Bakur whom, 
according to Koriun, St. Mashtots', the inventor of the Armenian alphabet, 
visited in Iberia shortly after 416. Koriun speaks of King Bakur and of the 
Bishop of that country, Moses. 134 Fr. Peeters is again right in saying that 
Bacurius must have ascended his throne after having served in the Roman 
army, i.e., after 394, when he is last heard of in that service. 135 The terminus 
ad quern of his reign in Iberia must, according to Fr. Peeters, be the year 
421 /422, when St. Mashtots' saw Arch'd reigning in Iberia. 136 There is, how- 
ever, the difficulty that there was no Bacurius /Bakur on the Iberian throne 
between 394 and 422: this we have seen. Nor was there, between the Con- 
version and the reign of Vakhtang I, a Bishop of Iberia, i.e., chief prelate 
of Iberia, named Moses, or thereafter a Katholikos of Iberia of that name. 137 
However, the name is a clue. Though there never was a chief prelate of Iberia, 
Moses, the name does appear among the Bishops of the neighbouring vassal- 

130 Ibid. 371, 373. 

131 Or 579/581, to be exact: ibid. 380-82. 

132 Hist. eccl. 10.11. 

138 Apud Gelasius of Cyzicus, Hist. eccl. ed. G. Loeschke and M. Heinemann (Leipzig 
1918) 154. He is also mentioned by Socrates, Hist. eccl. 1.20; 5.25, and Zosimus 4.57-58. 

134 Koriun 13.1-2; cf. Ps. Moses 3.54. 

135 Peeters, Les debuts du christianisme 33-8. He also shows, 34, 35-6, that this Bacurius 
was a different person from Bacurius Hibcrus quidam of Ammianus Marcellinus 31.12.16, 
and from another Bacurius, a correspondent of Libanius. 

136 Koriun 15.1-2; cf. Ps. Moses 3.60. 

137 For the Bishops of Iberia before they became Katholikoi, under Vakhtang I, see Tar- 
chniSvili, ‘Die Entstehung und Entwicklung der kirchlichen Autokephalie Georgiens’ (re- 
printed from Kyrios 5; 1940-1941) Le Muston 73 (1960) 111-2. 


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TRADITIO 


state of Iberia, the Vitaxate of Gogarene. The list of the ‘Bishops of the 
House of the Yitaxa, ’ as the Bishops of Ts'urtavi in Gogarene were entitled, 138 
has not been established; but we do know that less than two centuries later, 
Moses, Bishop of Ts f urtavi played an important role in the break between 
the Iberian and Armenian Churches which occurred in the years 607-609. 139 
It can be assumed that he had homonymous predecessors in his See. 

What strengthens this supposition is the fact that Gogarene has often 
been confused with Iberia. This Armeno-lberian march, to which reference 
has already been made here, was frequently called ‘Armenia’ by the Iberians 
and ‘ Iberia ’ by the Armenians. 140 At the time in which we are interested, 
the Yitaxae were vassals of the Iberian Crown; their subjects were a mixed 
Armeno-Georgian population, and their bishops, occasionally Armenian and 
occasionally Georgian; but the liturgy, at least in the chief shrine, the mar - 
tyrium of St. Susan, Princess of Gogarene, was in Armenian; and Georgian 
was to be introduced as a parallel liturgical language only on the threshold 
of the seventh century. 141 Accordingly, even though (as Fr. Peeters says) 
‘Koriun, Georgien lui-meme, devait connaitre ces deux noms, ’ Bacurius and 
Moses, 142 it is nevertheless difficult to escape the conclusion that Koriun, 
when speaking here of the King of Iberia and his bishop, must have had in 
mind the Vitaxa of Gogarene and his bishop. It so happens that in the list 
of the Vitaxae, there is one whose name we do not know. He is the son of 
the first Mihranid Vitaxa, P'eroz, and of Meribanes Ill’s daughter, whose 
daughter was the second wife of Aspacures III of Iberia. After him came 
the Yitaxa Arshusha I, who showed protection to St. Mashtots^ c. 430, and 
Arshusha’s successor Bacurius, son-in-law of Mithridates V of Iberia. 143 It 
can thus be conjectured that the Bacurius of Bufinus, Gelasius, and Koriun 
was the son of P^eroz, grandson on his mother’s side of the First Christian 
King of Iberia, and father-in-law of Aspacures III of Iberia, and so excel- 
lently equipped for telling the story of Iberia’s conversion to Rufinus. His 
name, it thus appears, was borne again by his second successor in the Vita- 
xate. It is to be noted, too, that Gelasius of Caesarea does not call him king, 

138 Cf. Toumanoff, Christian Caucasia 177; and for the ‘ dynasticization * of the Church 
in Caucasia, see ibid. 129 n. 68; Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 138-9. 

139 For this break, see Christ. Caucasia 174-84. 

140 Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 474-475; the Vitaxae themselves were variously styled: f V. of 
Gogarene/ ‘V. of Iberia/ and ‘Prince of Iberia/ in the Armenian sources, and ‘V. of 
Armenia/ ‘V. of Iberia/ and simply ‘Vitaxa' in the Georgian: ibid. 184, as well as 
dgxo)v rcbv ’IfhjQcov by a Byzantine source: ibid. 263. For the ecclesiastical implications 
of this ambiguity, see Chr. Caucasia 179 n. 309. 

141 Ibid. 183. — This cannot fail to show the unreality of the attempt to dissociate the 
Vitaxae, when vassals of Iberia, from their Armenian context; cf. supra n. 21. 

142 Les debuts du christianisme 38. 

143 Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 262. 


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but merely says that he was ‘of the royal house’ and that, at a later date, 
Zosimus 144 remembers him as an Armenian, which fits perfectly the ethnic 
ambiguity of the Vitaxae. As for the genealogical information, involving 
Bacurius and Archil, as found in the hagiographical romance known as Life 
of St. Peter the Iberian , it has been shown by Fr. Peeters — in his amusing 
and devastating way — to be utterly worthless . 145 


APPENDIX 


Traditional List of the Early Kings of Iberia 


The total number of the early Kings of Iberia, from Pharnabazus I to Ba- 
curius III, appears to have been remembered by the Iberian historical tradition, 
along with the length of the regnal years of each king, despite some errors in 
connection with individual sovereigns, the origin of which can be explained 
and which have — it is hoped — been rectified in the present study. This 
number is exactly the same as that resulting from this study, i.e., 37 Kings + 1 
anti-King (No. 20a). 


1. P f arnavaz I 

2. Saurmag 

3. Mir van I 

4. P c arnajom 

5. Arshak I 

6. Artag 

7. Bartom I 

8. Mir van II 

9. Arshak II 

10. Aderk 

11. Bartom II and K f art f am 

12. P f arsman I and Kaos 

13. Azork and Armazel 

14. Amazasp I and Derok 

15. P r arsman II and Mirdat I 

16. Adam 

17. P^arsman III 

18. Amazasp II 

19. Rev 

Georgetown University. 


20. Vach'e 

21. Bakur I 

22. Mirdat II 

23. Asp r agur 

24. Mirian 

25. Bak r ar I 

26. Mirdat III 

27. Varaz-Bak c ar II 

28. T'rdat 

29. P e arsman V 

30. Mirdat IV 

31. Arch f il I 

32. Mirdat V 

33. Vakhtang I 

34. DaclTi 

35. Bakur II 

36. P r arsman V 

37. P'arsman VI 

38. Bakur III 


144 4.57: ehnayv juev 3 AQjuevtag to yevog. 

145 Les debuts du christianisme 54-58; cf. Stud. Chr. Cauc. Hist. 261. 


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